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Three-axis Fluxgate Magnetometer

NSSDCA ID: 1962-041A-03

Mission Name: Mariner 2


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

Selected References

  • Coleman, P. J., Jr., Mariner 2 magnetometer experiment and associated data reduction procedures, U. of Calif., Pub. No. 447, Los Angeles, CA, Aug. 1965.
  • Smith, E. J., et al., Magnetic measurements near Venus, J. Geophys. Res., 70, No. 7, 1571-1586, doi:10.1029/JZ070i007p01571, Apr. 1965.
  • Coleman, P. J., Jr., et al., The mission of Mariner II: Preliminary observations, interplanetary magnetic fields, Science, 138, No. 3545, 1099-1100, doi:10.1126/science.138.3545.1095, Dec. 1962.
  • Smith, E. J., et al., Mariner II: Preliminary reports on measurements of Venus: Magnetic field, Science, 139, No. 3558, 909-910, doi:10.1126/science.139.3558.909, Mar. 1963.
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