The Atmosphere of Mars near the Surface: Isotope Ratios and Upper Limits on Noble Gases

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Science  01 Oct 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4260, pp. 76-78
DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4260.76


Several new analyses of the martian atmosphere have been carried out with the mass spectrometer in the molecular analysis experiment. The ratios of abundant isotopes of carbon and oxygen are within 10 percent of terrestrial values, whereas nitrogen-15 is considerably enriched on Mars. We have detected argon-38 and set new limits on abundances of krypton and xenon. The limit on krypton is sufficiently low to suggest that the inventories of volatile substances on Mars and on Earth may be distinctly different.