36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 27 Mars Surface and Water I: MER
Special Session, Thursday, November 11, 2004, 10:30am-12:00noon, Lewis

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[27.05] Results of the Magnetic Properties Experiment on the Mars Exploration Rovers

S. F. Hviid, W. Goetz (Max Planck Institut fuer Sonnensystemforschung), M. B. Madsen, J. M. Knudsen, P. Bertelsen (Center for Planetary Science / University of Copenhagen), MER Science Team

The two Mars Exploration Rovers each carry a set of Magnetic Properties Experiments (MPE) to investigate the properties of the air-borne dust in the Martian atmosphere. The goal of the MPE is to provide information on the processes that formed the dust (past and present). The objectives are: a) To identify the magnetic mineral(s) in the dust, soil and rocks on Mars. b) To establish if the magnetic material is present in the form of nanosized possibly superparamagnetic crystallites embedded in the micrometer sized airborne dust particles. c) To establish if the magnets are culling a subset of strongly magnetic particles or if essentially all particles of the airborne dust are sufficiently magnetic to be attracted by the magnets. d) Detect possible compositional differences between the airborne dust and the soil at the two landing sites. The MPE is composed of three major units: a) The Filter and Capture magnets. b) The Sweep Magnet and c) The RAT Magnets. The Filter and Capture magnets are designed to measure the elemental composition/iron mineralogy of the air-borne dust using the APX and Mössbauer Spectrometers and to investigate possible differences in trace element concentrations between the air-borne dust as a whole and the magnetic separate of the air-borne dust. The Sweep Magnet experiment is designed to serve two purposes: 1) Detect if any non-magnetic minerals are present in the atmospheric dust in any significant amount. 2) Provide a magnetically attracted dust layer suitable for spectroscopic investigation by the multispectral Panoramic Camera (PANCAM). The RAT magnet experiment is mounted inside the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) and is designed to detect the presence of magnetic grains released by the grinding process of rocks.

A summary of the results of these experiments will be presented at the Assembly.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.