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Triaxial Fluxgate Magnetometer

NSSDCA ID: 1973-085A-04

Mission Name: Mariner 10


This experiment consisted of two triaxial fluxgate magnetometers mounted on a common boom, 2.3 m and 5.8 m from the spacecraft, and designed to measure the vector magnetic field in the vicinity of Mercury and Venus and in the interplanetary medium. Outputs from the two magnetometers were simultaneously analyzed to separate ambient fields from spacecraft fields. Each sensor had dual operating ranges of +/-16 nT and +/-128 nT, with digitization accuracies of 0.03 nT and 0.26 nT, respectively. Bias offset capability extended the operating range to +/-3188 nT. During the primary phase of the mission (November 3, 1973, to March 29, 1974) and during the second and third Mercury encounters, 25 vectors per second were sampled by the primary outboard magnetometer and transmitted to Earth. At other times, a lower data rate mode was used during which five vectors per second were transmitted. The experiment functioned normally throughout the life of the spacecraft.

Alternate Names

  • Mariner10/TriaxialFluxgateMagnetometer
  • Vector Meas. of the Magnetic Field in the Vicinity of Mercury, Venus, Interpla.
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:m10.mag

Facts in Brief

Mass: 4.3 kg
Power (avg): 13.6 W
Bit rate (avg): 1.052 kbps

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


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

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Prof. Yun Chow WhangCo-InvestigatorCatholic University of
Dr. Ronald P. LeppingCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Kenneth W. BehannonCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Kenneth H. SchattenCo-InvestigatorVictoria University of

Selected References

  • Ness, N. F., et al., Use of two magnetometers for magnetic field measurements on a spacecraft, J. Geophys. Res., 76, 3564-3573, doi:10.1029/JA076i016p03564, June 1971.
  • Ness, N. F., et al., Magnetic field observations near Mercury: Preliminary results from Mariner 10, Science, 185, No. 4146, 151-160, doi:10.1126/science.185.4146.151, July 1974.
  • Ness, N. F., et al., Magnetic field of Mercury: Part one, J. Geophys. Res., 80, No. 19, 2708-2716, July 1975.
  • Fairfield, D. H., and K. W. Behannon, Bow shock and magnetosheath waves at Mercury, J. Geophys. Res., 81, No. 22, 3897-3906, doi:10.1029/JA081i022p03897, Aug. 1976.
  • Ness, N. F., et al., Observations of Mercury's magnetic field, Icarus, 28, No. 4, 479-488, doi:10.1016/0019-1035(76)90121-4, 1976.
  • Whang, Y. C., Magnetospheric magnetic field of Mercury, J. Geophys. Res., 82, No. 7, 1024-1030, doi:10.1029/JA082i007p01024, March 1977.
  • Jackson, D. J., and D. B. Beard, The magnetic field of Mercury, J. Geophys. Res., 82, No. 19, 2828-2836, doi:10.1029/JA082i019p02828, July 1977.
  • Ness, N. F., et al., Magnetic field observations near Venus: Preliminary results from Mariner 10, Science, 183, No. 4131, 1301-1306, doi:10.1126/science.183.4131.1301, Mar. 1974.
  • Lepping, R. P., and K. W. Behannon, Magnetic field directional discontinuities: Characteristics between 0.46 and 1.0 au, J. Geophys. Res., 91, No. A8, 8725-8741, doi:10.1029/JA091iA08p08725, Aug. 1986.
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