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Therefore this experiment requires use of an instrument capable of resolving isotopes of trace elements in the mass 100-240 region—an instrument more like one suitable for analyzing surface rock and soil than the simple lowmass analyzer proposed for atmosphere analysis. The Moon could provide a suitable platform for such an experiment provided that the instrument can be shielded from the secondary effects of the wind mentioned above ; if not, a lunar orbiter might provide such a location. ) Considering thermal escape alone, lifetime is a steep function of molecular weight, rising 10 from about 25 minutes for atomic hydrogen to about 1 0 years for N O 2 (mass 46).
Therefore many oxygen atoms will be ejected from their mineral lattices and many of these "sputtered" oxygens (as well as the other constituents, too, for that matter) will escape the rock and enter the atmosphere, where the oxygen (and other gases) only can remain, the others atoms being trapped again in the "soil" at first contact. The result will be a decrease in the oxygen/metal ratio in surface material; such reduction of metal oxide surfaces has in fact been produced in the laboratory in simulated solar-wind experiments by Wehner et al.
U. 4 9 , 249. f Average igneous rock. D. 2 îPyroxene-Plagioclase achondrite —the problem for "undifferentiated" Moon advocates being that this is a rather rare class of meteorite and that they were expecting a chondritic composition. But it should also be noted that the measured composition is not greatly different from the "average 28 L. F. B1. Another experiment of the same type was made at a different location, but still on a mare, by Surveyor VI. This analysis was somewhat better, and it was possible to distinguish a calcium "break" in the spectrum (see description of alpha-scattering technique below) and hence to obtain separate values for Ca and Fe.