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Detection of argon in the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

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Title: Detection of argon in the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Authors: Balsiger, Hans
Altwegg, Kathrin
Bar-Nun, Akiva
Berthelier, Jean-Jacques
Bieler, Andre
show 26 moreBochsler, Peter
Briois, Christelle
Calmonte, Ursina
Combi, Michael
De Keyser, Johan
Eberhardt, Peter
Fiethe, Björn
Fuselier, Stephen A.
Gasc, Sébestien
Gombosi, Tamas I.
Hansen, Kenneth C.
Hässig, Myrtha
Jäckel, Annette
Kopp, Ernest
Korth, Axel
Le Roy, Lena
Mall, Urs
Marty, Bernard
Mousis, Olivier
Owen, Tobias
Rème, Henri
Rubin, Martin
Sémon, Thierry
Tzou, Chia-Yu
Waite, J. Hunter
Wurz, Peter

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Issue Date: Sep 2015
Publisher: Science Advances
Related To:
Abstract: Comets have been considered to be representative of icy planetesimals that may have contributed a significant
fraction of the volatile inventory of the terrestrial planets. For example, comets must have brought some water
to Earth. However, the magnitude of their contribution is still debated. We report the detection of argon and its
relation to the water abundance in the Jupiter family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by in situ measurement
of the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) mass spectrometer aboard the Rosetta
spacecraft. Despite the very low intensity of the signal, argon is clearly identified by the exact determination of the
mass of the isotope 36Ar and by the 36Ar/38Ar ratio. Because of time variability and spatial heterogeneity of the
coma, only a range of the relative abundance of argon to water can be given. Nevertheless, this range confirms that
comets of the type 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko cannot be the major source of Earth’s major volatiles.
Pages/Duration: 5
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500377
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Appears in Collections:Institute for Astronomy Faculty & Researcher Works

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