Mars Pathfinder Magnetic Properties Experiment

The Mars Pathfinder Magnetic Properties Experiment primarily involves an array of permanent magnets on the lander. The magnets are assembled to produce a bullseye pattern of attracted dust using an outer annular ring magnet, 18 mm in diameter, surrounding a central cylindrical magnet. In each of two magnet arrays five such magnets of progressively increasing strength (from left to right below) are mounted in magnesium blocks. An increase in magnetic dust deposition from Sol 10 to Sol 66 is clearly evident in the composite image below. By analyzing the patterns of dust on the various magnets, scientists are able to measure the dust's magnetic strength and infer its composition. Mars Pathfinder Magnet Experiment

Earlier results

Mars Pathfinder Magnet Experiment Mars Pathfinder Magnet Experiment

These magnets are intended to attract any magnetic particles in the windborne dust. The top picture shows a lower magnet array on sol 6 (top) and on sol 13 (bottom). The lower picture shows the upper magnet array on sol 26. Dust has clearly accumulated on the two strongest magnets on the right with time, and can be seen on the center magnet in the bottom image.

Detailed information on the Magnetic Properties Experiment
Mars Pathfinder Preliminary Science Results
Mars Pathfinder home page at NSSDCA

Questions and comments about this page should be addressed to:
Dr. David R. Williams,, (301) 286-1258
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dr. Ed Grayzeck,
Last Updated: 18 December 2001, DRW