Deuterium on Mars: The Abundance of HDO and the Value of D/H

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Science  24 Jun 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4860, pp. 1767
DOI: 10.1126/science.240.4860.1767


Deuterium on Mars has been detected by the resolution of several Doppler-shifted lines ofHDO near 3.7 micrometers in the planet's spectrum. The ratio of deuterium to hydrogen is (9 ± 4) x 10-4; the abundance of H20 was derived from lines near 1.1 micrometers. This ratio is enriched on Mars over the teiluric value by a factor of6 ± 3. The enrichment implies that hydrogen escaped more rapidly from Mars in the past than it does now, consistent with a dense and warm ancient atmosphere on the planet.