Composition of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres from meteorite outgassing experimentsOPEN ACCESS 

Maggie A. Thompson, Myriam Telus, Laura Schaefer, Jonathan J. Fortney, Toyanath Joshi & David Lederman

Nature Astronomy , 1–11



“Terrestrial exoplanets likely form initial atmospheres through outgassing during and after accretion, although there is currently no first-principles understanding of how to connect a planet’s bulk composition to its early atmospheric properties. Important insights into this connection can be gained by assaying meteorites, which are representative samples of planetary building blocks. We perform laboratory outgassing experiments that use a mass spectrometer to measure the abundances of volatiles released when meteorite samples are heated to 1,200 °C. We find that outgassing from three carbonaceous chondrite samples consistently produce H2O-rich (average of ~66%) atmospheres but with substantial amounts of CO (~18%) and CO2 (~15%) as well as smaller quantities of H2 and H2S (up to 1%). These results provide experimental constraints on the initial chemical composition in theoretical models of terrestrial planet atmospheres, and supply abundances for principal gas species as a function of temperature.”