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Noble gas abundance and isotope ratios in the atmosphere of Jupiter from the Galileo Probe Mass Spectrometer


Mahaffy, PR
Niemann, HB
Alpert, A
Atreya, SK
Demick, J.
Donahue, TM
Harpold, DN
Owen, TC


The Galileo Probe Mass Spectrometer provided the first data on the noble gas mixing and isotope ratios in the Jovian atmosphere. These measurements and the comparison with solar values constrain models of Jupiter's formation. Significant refinements to the initially reported abundances of argon, krypton, and xenon have been enabled through post‐encounter laboratory calibrations using a refurbished engineering unit mass spectrometer nearly identical to the flight unit. The abundances relative to hydrogen for argon, krypton, and xenon are respectively 2.5±0.5, 2.7±0.5, and 2.6±0.5 times the solar ratios. The mixing ratios of He and Ne found in these studies are consistent with previously reported values of 0.8 and 0.1 times solar respectively. The Jovian 36Ar/38Ar ratio is 5.6±0.25 and the 20Ne/22Ne ratio is 13±2, consistent with the solar values of 5.77 and 13.81, respectively, that are derived from lunar mineral grain analysis. The distribution of xenon isotopes at Jupiter also resembles the solar distribution.