Solar abundances are important to planetary science since the prevalent model assumes that the composition of the solar photosphere is that of the solar nebula from which planetary materials formed. Thus, solar abundances are a baseline for planetary science. Previously, solar abundances have only been available through spectroscopy or by proxy (CI). The Genesis spacecraft collected and returned samples of the solar wind for laboratory analyses. Elemental and isotopic abundances in solar wind from Genesis samples have been successfully measured despite the crash of the re-entry capsule. Here we present science rationales for a set of 12 important (and feasible postcrash) Science and Measurement Objectives as goals for the future (Table 1). We also review progress in Genesis sample analyses since the last major review (Burnett). Considerable progress has been made toward understanding elemental fractionation during the extraction of the solar wind from the photosphere, a necessary step in determining true solar abundances from solar wind composition. The suitability of Genesis collectors for specific analyses is also assessed. Thus far, the prevalent model remains viable despite large isotopic variations in a number of volatile elements, but its validity and limitations can be further checked by several Objectives.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science