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Three-axis Fluxgate Magnetometer

NSSDCA ID: 1962-041A-03

Mission Name: Mariner 2
Principal Investigator:Prof. Paul J. Coleman, Jr.


This experiment was designed to measure the magnitude and direction of the interplanetary and Cytherean magnetic fields. It consisted of three orthogonal fluxgate magnetometers mounted on top of a 152.4 m tower. One magnetometer axis was parallel to the spacecraft roll axis. In the high-sensitivity mode, each magnetometer had a dynamic range of +/-64 nT with an accuracy of +/-0.5 nT. In the low-sensitivity mode, this range was +/-320 nT with an accuracy of +/-2.5 nT. All three magnetometers were sampled within 8.64 s, and this sequence of sampling was repeated every 36.96 s (every 20.16 s during the Venus encounter on December 14, 1962). An in-flight calibration system was designed to check the sensitivity of the three magnetometers once during each 15.77 hour period. Due to a failure in the control circuit, in-flight calibrations were performed more often and in a random fashion. Other than the failure in the in-flight calibration system, the experiment performed normally until January 3, 1963, when contact with Mariner 2 was lost.

Alternate Names

  • Mariner2/Three-axisFluxgateMagnetometer

Facts in Brief

Mass: 2.177 kg
Power (avg): 6 W
Bit rate (avg): 0.00833 kbps


  • Planetary Science: Fields and Particles
  • Space Physics: Heliospheric Studies

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Charles P. SonettCo-InvestigatorUniversity of Arizona
Dr. Edward J. SmithCo-InvestigatorNASA Jet Propulsion
Dr. Leverett Davis, Jr.Co-InvestigatorCalifornia Institute of Technology
Prof. Paul J. Coleman, Jr.General ContactUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Prof. Paul J. Coleman, Jr.Principal InvestigatorUniversity of California, Los Angeles

Selected References

  • Smith, E. J., et al., Magnetic measurements near Venus, J. Geophys. Res., 70, No. 7, 1571-1586, Apr. 1965.
  • Coleman, P. J., Jr., et al., The mission of Mariner II: Preliminary observations, interplanetary magnetic fields, Science, 138, No. 3545, 1099-1100, Dec. 1962.
  • Smith, E. J., et al., Mariner II: Preliminary reports on measurements of Venus, magnetic field, Science, 139, No. 3558, 909-910, Mar. 1963.
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