Many of the small to medium sized objects in the solar system can be characterized as having surface bounded exospheres, or atmospheres so tenuous that scale lengths for inter-particle collisions are much larger than the dimensions of the objects. The atmospheres of these objects are the product of their surfaces, both the surface composition and the interactions that occur on them and also their interiors when gases escape from there. Thus by studying surface bounded exospheres it is possible to develop insight into the composition and processes that are taking place on the surface and interiors of these objects. The Moon and Mercury are two examples of planetary bodies with surface bounded exospheres that have been studied through spectroscopic observations of sodium, potassium, and, on the moon, mass spectrometric measurements of lunar gases such as argon and helium.
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 11; LPI-Contrib-1234-Pt-11