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Odd nitrogen production by meteoroidsThe process by which odd nitrogen species (atomic nitrogen and nitric oxide) are formed during atmospheric entry of meteoroids is analyzed theoretically. An ablating meteoroid is assumed to be a point source of mass with a continuum regime evolving in its wake. The amounts of odd nitrogen species, produced by high-temperature reactions of air in the continuum wake, are calculated by numerical integration of chemical rate equations. Flow properties are assumed to be uniform across the wake, and 29 reactions involving five neutral species and five singly ionized species are considered, as well as vibrational and electron temperature nonequilibrium phenomena. The results, when they are summed over the observed mass, velocity, and entry-angle distribution of meteoroids, provide odd-nitrogen-species annual global production rates as functions of altitude. The peak production of nitric oxide is found to occur at an altitude of about 85 km; atomic nitrogen production peaks at about 95 km. The total annual rate for nitric oxide is 40 million kg; for atomic nitrogen it is 170 million kg.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Park, C.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Menees, G. P.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, Calif., United States)
Date Acquired
August 9, 2013
Publication Date
August 20, 1978
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 83
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits

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