Faculty Advisor

Iannacchione, Germano S.

Abstract

In this thesis it is examined whether Mars, or a smaller body would have enough gravity to protect against Jeans escape if it had an Earth-like atmosphere. Other methods of atmospheric loss are ignored. Statistical mechanics were used to create a model of the atmosphere, and calculated how much gas would be able to escape. It was found that the under nearly Earth-like surface conditions, but with all particles uniform, and assuming equilibrium, the percentage of atmospheric particles at or above escape velocity would be 8.7946*10^-64. This suggests Mars would be able to sustain an Earth-like atmosphere. The Moon, and the dwarf planet Ceres were both shown to be too small to sustain an Earth-like atmosphere.

Publisher

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

August 2013

Major

Physics

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project

Accessibility

Unrestricted

Advisor Department

Physics

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