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Wind Sock Investigation

NSSDCA ID: 1996-068A-03

Mission Name: Mars Pathfinder
Principal Investigator:Dr. Robert J. Sullivan, Jr.


The Mars Pathfinder Lander Wind Sock Experiment was associated with both the ASI/MET (Atmospheric Science/Meteorology) and the Imager for Mars Pathfinder. The experiment was comprised of three wind socks mounted on the one meter tall ASI/MET mast. Each wind sock is a 10 cm long, 3 cm wide hollow aluminum cone attached to a pivot near the narrow end, and an aluminum sheathed steel counterweight. The wind socks are mounted on the ASI/MET mast at heights of 33.1 cm, 62.4 cm, and 91.6 cm above the base of the mast. They were imaged by the lander camera, and their orientations and tilts give information on the wind speed and direction at each of the three heights. The variation in wind speed with height is used to study the effect of the surface on the wind and to estimate the aerodynamic roughness of the surface near the landing site. This knowledge will help understand how dust and sand is lifted into the atmosphere and deposited. Aerodynamic calibrations of the wind socks were done at ASU's low pressure wind tunnel at NASA Ames Research Center at Mars equivalent pressures. Some 650 calibration images were taken.

Alternate Names

  • MarsPathfinder/WindSockInvestigation
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:windsock.mpfl

Funding Agency

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Atmospheres

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Prof. Ronald GreeleyCo-InvestigatorArizona State University
Dr. Robert J. Sullivan, Jr.Lead InvestigatorArizona State

Selected References

  • Sullivan, R., et al., Results of the Imager for Mars Pathfinder windsock experiment, J. Geophys. Res., 105, No. E10, 24547-24562, Oct. 2000.
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