Implications of the Gas Compositional Measurements of Pioneer Venus for the Origin of Planetary Atmospheres

Science  06 Jul 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4401, pp. 56-59
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4401.56


Comparisons are made between the volatile inventories of the terrestrial planets, including Pioneer Venus data, and the predictions of three classes of theories for the origin of planetary atmospheres. Serious difficulties arise for the primary atmosphere and external source hypotheses. The grain accretion hypothesis can account for the trends in the volatile inventory from Venus to Earth to Mars, if volatiles were incorporated into planet-forming grains at nearly the same temperature for all of these planets, but at systematically lower pressures in the regions of planet formation farther from the center of the solar nebula.