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  3. 1 the composition of planetary atmospheres is determined in part...

Question: 1 the composition of planetary atmospheres is determined in part...

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1. The composition of planetary atmospheres is determined in part by the speeds of the molecules of the constituent gases because the faster moving molecules can reach escape velocity and leave the planet (often called Jeans escape, named after British astronomer Sir James Jeans). The major constituents of earths atmosphere (air) are nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, dihydrogen monoxide, neon, helium, methane, krypton and hydrogen gases. In general, the earth is too large to lose a significant proportion of its atmosphere through Jeans escape. (A) Of the major constituent gases in the earths atmosphere, which are most susceptible to Jeans escape? (B) The exosphere is the high-altitude region where atmospheric density is sparse and Jeans escape occurs. For the atmospheric gases susceptible to Jeans escape (part-A), estimate the fraction of molecules traveling at a speed above the earths escape velocity.

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