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Calculate the average speed of molecules of CH4 (molecular weight = 16.043 amu) on the surface of Charon (T = 37k) and determine whether Charon can retain this compound.

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vm = (3KT/m)1/2

Mass of a methane molecule = 16.043/(6.022 x 1023)

= 2.664 x 10-26kg

vm = ((3 x 1.38 x 10-23 x 37)/(2.664 x 10-26))1/2 = (57.5 x 103)1/2

vm = 239.7m/s = 0.239km/s

6 × vm = 1.438 km/s  

 ve = 0.630 km/s 

Methane can escape from Charon because 6 × vm = 1.438 km/s is greater than the escape velocity (ve = 0.630km/s).

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