The Genesis solar xenon composition and its relationship to planetary xenon signatures

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Abstract

The fluence and isotopic composition of solar wind xenon have been determined from silicon collector targets flown on the NASA Genesis mission. A protocol was developed to extract gas quantitatively from samples of ~9-25mm2, and xenon measured using the RELAX mass spectrometer. The fluence of implanted solar wind xenon is 1.202(87)×106 atoms 132Xecm-2, which equates to a flux of 5.14(21)×106 atoms 132Xecm-2year-1 at the L1 point. This value is in good agreement with those reported in other studies. The isotopic composition of the solar wind is consistent with that extracted from the young lunar regolith and other Genesis collector targets. The more precise xenon isotopic data derived from the Genesis mission confirm models of relationships among planetary xenon signatures. The underlying composition of Xe-Q is mass fractionated solar wind; small, varying contributions of Xe-HL and 129Xe from 129I decay are present in reported meteorite analyses. In contrast, an s-process deficit is apparent in Xe-P3, which appears to have been mass fractionated to the same extent as Xe-Q from a precursor composition, suggesting similar trapping mechanisms. Solar wind xenon later evolved by the addition of ~1% (at 132Xe) of s-process xenon to this precursor. As an alternative model to a single source reservoir for Xe-P3, we propose that trapping of xenon onto carbonaceous carriers has been an ongoing process across galactic history, and that preparation of the residues in which Xe-P3 has been identified preferentially preserves longer lived host phases; a higher proportion of these sample xenon isotopic compositions from earlier in galactic chemical evolution, allowing the s-process deficit to become apparent. The relationships among SW-Xe, Xe-Q and Xe-P3 predict that the 124Xe/132Xe ratio for the solar wind is 0.00481(6). © 2013 The Authors.

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Crowther, S. A., & Gilmour, J. D. (2013). The Genesis solar xenon composition and its relationship to planetary xenon signatures. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 123, 17–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2013.09.007

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