Surveyor V: Magnet Experiment

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Science  03 Nov 1967:
Vol. 158, Issue 3801, pp. 632-635
DOI: 10.1126/science.158.3801.632


During the Surveyor V landing, a footpad with an attached permanent magnet assembly slid for about a meter through lunar surface material at a depth of about 10 centimeters. Subsequent pictures showed material adhering to the magnetic pole edges, where the magnetic field strength is greatest. Comparison of these pictures with those made under simulated laboratory conditions permits three conclusions. (i) Iron is present on the lunar surface in one of the forms attracted to a 500-gauss magnet. (ii) A 1-percent addition by volume of powdered free iron to a powdered terrestrial rock represents an upper limit for the lunar results. (iii) The lunar results are most similar to a terrestrial plateau basalt with no addition of free iron.