Strange Isotope Ratios in Jupiter
O Manuel, D. Ragland, K. Windler, J. Zirbel, L. Johannes, A.
At the January AAS meeting, Dr. Daniel Goldin ordered the release of isotopic data from the 1995 Galileo probe into Jupiter. This probe took mass readings for mass numbers 2-150, which includes all of the noble gas isotopes. A certain few noble gas isotopes, specifically those at mass/charge = 21, 40, 78, 124, and 126, are difficult to distinguish from background, while interference causes some variation in signals for noble gas isotopes at mass/charge = 20, 22, 36, 38, 40, 80, 82, 83, 84 and 86. Some contamination was caused by incomplete adsorption of low mass hydrocarbons by Carbosieve, the material used in the concentration cells [Space Sci. Rev. 60, 120 (1992)]. Thus, preliminary results are most reliable in the high mass region that includes xenon.
The Galileo Probe provided the first direct measurements from a planet with a chemical composition drastically different from Earth. Our preliminary analyses indicate that Jupiter contains Xe-X [Nature 240, 99 (1972)], which differs significantly from Earth's xenon. Xe-X and primordial He are tightly coupled on the microscopic scale of meteorite minerals [Science 195, 208 (1977); Meteoritics 15, 117 (1980)]. The presence today of Xe-X in the He-rich atmosphere of Jupiter suggests that the primordial linkage of Xe-X with He extended across the protosolar nebula, on a planetary scale [Comments Astrophys. 18, 335 (1997)].
Contamination by hydrocarbons and other gases does not necessarily remove light noble gases from further consideration. Currently, isolation of signals of these elements from interference continues and may result in the presentation of many other interesting observations at the conference.