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Physical Properties

NSSDCA ID: 1975-075C-01

Mission Name: Viking 1 Lander
Principal Investigator:Dr. Richard W. Shorthill


The purpose of the physical properties investigation was to determine the physical properties of the Martian surface and environment at the landing site, primarily using engineering measurements and scientific instruments required to meet other mission objectives. In particular, it attempted to determine such properties as bulk density, bearing strength, angle of repose, cohesion, angle of internal friction, particle characteristics, thermal parameters, eolian transportability, topography, and certain environmental properties such as wind, temperature, and solar flux levels. Maximum use was made of hardware and instruments intended for other applications, such as the mechanical subsystems and lander cameras. Only passive devices, such as mirrors and landing leg stroke gauges, were added for this experiment.

Alternate Names

  • Neutral Mass Spectrometer Accel., Press. and Temp Sensors Retard. Poten. Analyzer
  • Viking1Lander/PhysicalProperties

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Atmospheres
  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Richard W. ShorthillTeam LeaderUniversity of Utah
Dr. Henry J. MooreTeam MemberUS Geological Survey
Dr. Ronald F. ScottTeam MemberCalifornia Institute of
Mr. Robert E. HuttonTeam MemberTRW Systems Group

Selected References

  • Moore, H. J., et al., Surface materials of the Viking landing sites, J. Geophys. Res., 82, No. 28, 4497-4523, doi:10.1029/JS082i028p04497, Sept. 1977.
  • Moore, H. J., et al., Sample fields of the Viking landers, physical properties, and Aeolian processes, J. Geophys. Res., 84, No. B14, 8365-8377, doi:10.1029/JB084iB14p08365, Dec. 1979.
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