publication 18-October-2017 14:56:32

Xenon isotopes in 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko show that comets contributed to Earth's atmosphere

Publication date: 09 June 2017

Authors: Marty, B., et al.

Journal: Science
Volume: 356
Issue: 6342
Page: 1069-1072
Year: 2017

Copyright: AAAS

The origin of cometary matter and the potential contribution of comets to inner-planet atmospheres are long-standing problems. During a series of dedicated low-altitude orbits, the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) on the Rosetta spacecraft analyzed the isotopes of xenon in the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The xenon isotopic composition shows deficits in heavy xenon isotopes and matches that of a primordial atmospheric component. The present-day Earth atmosphere contains 22 ± 5% cometary xenon, in addition to chondritic (or solar) xenon.

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Last Update: 08 June 2017

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