Viking Magnetic Properties Investigation: Preliminary Results

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Science  01 Oct 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4260, pp. 84-86
DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4260.84


Three permanent magnet arrays are aboard the Viking lander. By sol 35, one array, fixed on a photometric reference test chart on top of the lander, has clearly attracted magnetic particles from airborne dust; two other magnet arrays, one strong and one weak, incorporated in the backhoe of the surface sampler, have both extracted considerable magnetic mineral from the surface as a result of nine insertions associated with sample acquisition. The loose martian surface material around the landing site is judged to contain 3 to 7 percent highly magnetic mineral which, pending spectrophotometric study, is thought to be mainly magnetite.