Viking Magnetic Properties Investigation: Further Results

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Science  17 Dec 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4271, pp. 1303-1309
DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4271.1303


The amounts of magnetic particles held on the reference test chart and backhoe magnets on lander 2 and lander 1 are comparable, indicating the presence of an estimated 3 to 7 percent by weight of relatively pure, strongly magnetic particles in the soil at the lander 2 sampling site. Preliminary spectrophotometric analysis of the material held on the backhoe magnets on lander 1 indicates that its reflectance characteristics are indistinguishable from material within a sampling trench with which it has been compared. The material on the RTC magnet shows a different spectrum, but it is suspected that the difference is the result of a reflectance contribution from the magnesium metal covering on the magnet. It is argued that the results indicate the presence, now or originally, of magnetite, which may be titaniferous.