Solar Wind Neon from Genesis: Implications for the Lunar Noble Gas Record

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Science  17 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5802, pp. 1133-1135
DOI: 10.1126/science.1133568

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Lunar soils have been thought to contain two solar noble gas components with distinct isotopic composition. One has been identified as implanted solar wind, the other as higher-energy solar particles. The latter was puzzling because its relative amounts were much too large compared with present-day fluxes, suggesting periodic, very high solar activity in the past. Here we show that the depth-dependent isotopic composition of neon in a metallic glass exposed on NASA's Genesis mission agrees with the expected depth profile for solar wind neon with uniform isotopic composition. Our results strongly indicate that no extra high-energy component is required and that the solar neon isotope composition of lunar samples can be explained as implantation-fractionated solar wind.

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