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Lunar Surface Magnetometer

NSSDC ID: 1971-063C-03
Mission Name: Apollo 15 Lunar Module /ALSEP
Principal Investigator: Dr. Palmer Dyal


The lunar surface magnetometer was designed to measure the magnitude and temporal variations of the lunar surface magnetic field in order to determine the internal electrical properties of the moon. The detector package consisted of three boom-mounted fluxgate magnetometers capable of measuring magnetic fields in the three ranges of plus to minus 50, 100, or 200 gammas as selected by earth command. The resolution was 0.5 percent of full scale. A flip-calibrate sequence designed to determine the absolute accuracy of the fluxgate sensors and to detect drifts in zero levels was performed automatically at 18-hr intervals. At a time specified by the Principal Investigator (but after the astronauts had left the lunar surface), a magnetic field site survey was performed by rotating each of the sensors. The purpose of the survey was to locate any magnetic influences inherent in the deployment site. The site survey was performed only once. The experiment provided useful data until September 20, 1972, when the Y-axis sensor failed. Data from the X- and Z-axis sensors were transmitted until December 9, 1973.

Facts in Brief

Mass: 8.6 kg


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

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Palmer DyalPrincipal InvestigatorNASA Ames Research Center 
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