Magnetic properties experiments on the Mars Pathfinder lander: Preliminary results

S. F. Hviid, M. B. Madsen, H. P. Gunnlaugsson, W. Goetz, J. M. Knudsen, R. B. Hargraves, P. Smith, D. Britt, A. R. Dinesen, C. T. Mogensen, M. Olsen, C. T. Pedersen, L. Vistisen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

91 Scopus citations


Many of the particles currently suspended in the martian atmosphere are magnetic, with an average saturation magnetization of about 4 A-m2/kg (amperes times square meters per kilogram). The particles appear to consist of claylike aggregates stained or cemented with ferric oxide (Fe2O3); at least some of the stain and cement is probably maghemite (γ-Fe2O3). The presence of the 'y phase would imply that Fe2+ ions leached from the bedrock, passing through a state as free Fe2+ ions dissolved in liquid water. These particles could be a freeze-dried precipitate from ground water poured out on the surface. An alternative is that the magnetic particles are titanomagnetite occurring in palagonite and inherited directly from a basaltic precursor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1768-1770
Number of pages3
Issue number5344
StatePublished - Dec 5 1997


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Cite this

Hviid, S. F., Madsen, M. B., Gunnlaugsson, H. P., Goetz, W., Knudsen, J. M., Hargraves, R. B., Smith, P., Britt, D., Dinesen, A. R., Mogensen, C. T., Olsen, M., Pedersen, C. T., & Vistisen, L. (1997). Magnetic properties experiments on the Mars Pathfinder lander: Preliminary results. Science, 278(5344), 1768-1770.