Search for magnetic minerals in Martian rocks

Overview of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT)magnet investigation on Spirit and Opportunity

Walter Goetz, Kristoffer Leer, Haraldur P. Gunnlaugsson, Paul Bartlett, Brandon Basso, James Bell, Preben Bertelsen, Charlotte S. Binau, Phillip C. Chu, S. Gorevan, Mikkel F. Hansen, Stubbe F. Hviid, Kjartan M. Kinch, Göstar Klingelhöfer, Alastair Kusack, Morten B. Madsen, Douglas W. Ming, Richard V. Morris, Erik Mumm, Tom Myrick & 4 others Malte Olsen, Steven W. Squyres, Jack Wilson, Albert Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on board the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) is a grinding tool designed to remove dust coatings and/or weathering rinds from rocks and expose fresh rock material. Four magnets of different strengths that are built into the structure of the RAT have been attracting substantial amounts of magnetic material during RAT activities from rocks throughout both rover missions. The RAT magnet experiment as performed on Spirit demonstrates the presence of a strongly ferrimagnetic phase in Gusev crater rocks, which based on Mössbauer and visible/near-infrared reflectance spectra is interpreted as magnetite. The amount of abraded rock material adhering to the magnets varied strongly during the mission and is correlated in a consistent way to the amount of magnetite inferred from Mössbauer spectra for the corresponding rock. The RAT magnet experiment as performed on Opportunity also indicates the presence of a strongly ferrimagnetic phase in outcrops, such as magnetite or an altered version of magnetite. However, the evidence is weaker than in the case of Spirit. According to data from the α particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) and the Mössbauer spectrometer (MB), the Eagle crater outcrops should not contain magnetite and their magnetization should not exceed 0.03 A m2 kg-1. However, this assertion seems to be in contradiction with the results of the RAT magnet experiment. The evidence for a strongly ferrimagnetic phase at low abundance in the Meridiani outcrops is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE05S90
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume113
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 20 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

magnetic mineral
abrasion
Abrasion
Magnets
Minerals
magnets
Rocks
minerals
rocks
Ferrosoferric Oxide
rock
magnetite
outcrops
outcrop
craters
crater
spectrometer
Particle spectrometers
spectrometers
Mars exploration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Cite this

Search for magnetic minerals in Martian rocks : Overview of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT)magnet investigation on Spirit and Opportunity. / Goetz, Walter; Leer, Kristoffer; Gunnlaugsson, Haraldur P.; Bartlett, Paul; Basso, Brandon; Bell, James; Bertelsen, Preben; Binau, Charlotte S.; Chu, Phillip C.; Gorevan, S.; Hansen, Mikkel F.; Hviid, Stubbe F.; Kinch, Kjartan M.; Klingelhöfer, Göstar; Kusack, Alastair; Madsen, Morten B.; Ming, Douglas W.; Morris, Richard V.; Mumm, Erik; Myrick, Tom; Olsen, Malte; Squyres, Steven W.; Wilson, Jack; Yen, Albert.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, Vol. 113, No. 5, E05S90, 20.05.2008.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Goetz, W, Leer, K, Gunnlaugsson, HP, Bartlett, P, Basso, B, Bell, J, Bertelsen, P, Binau, CS, Chu, PC, Gorevan, S, Hansen, MF, Hviid, SF, Kinch, KM, Klingelhöfer, G, Kusack, A, Madsen, MB, Ming, DW, Morris, RV, Mumm, E, Myrick, T, Olsen, M, Squyres, SW, Wilson, J & Yen, A 2008, 'Search for magnetic minerals in Martian rocks: Overview of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT)magnet investigation on Spirit and Opportunity', Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, vol. 113, no. 5, E05S90. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006JE002819
Goetz, Walter ; Leer, Kristoffer ; Gunnlaugsson, Haraldur P. ; Bartlett, Paul ; Basso, Brandon ; Bell, James ; Bertelsen, Preben ; Binau, Charlotte S. ; Chu, Phillip C. ; Gorevan, S. ; Hansen, Mikkel F. ; Hviid, Stubbe F. ; Kinch, Kjartan M. ; Klingelhöfer, Göstar ; Kusack, Alastair ; Madsen, Morten B. ; Ming, Douglas W. ; Morris, Richard V. ; Mumm, Erik ; Myrick, Tom ; Olsen, Malte ; Squyres, Steven W. ; Wilson, Jack ; Yen, Albert. / Search for magnetic minerals in Martian rocks : Overview of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT)magnet investigation on Spirit and Opportunity. In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets. 2008 ; Vol. 113, No. 5.
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abstract = "The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on board the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) is a grinding tool designed to remove dust coatings and/or weathering rinds from rocks and expose fresh rock material. Four magnets of different strengths that are built into the structure of the RAT have been attracting substantial amounts of magnetic material during RAT activities from rocks throughout both rover missions. The RAT magnet experiment as performed on Spirit demonstrates the presence of a strongly ferrimagnetic phase in Gusev crater rocks, which based on M{\"o}ssbauer and visible/near-infrared reflectance spectra is interpreted as magnetite. The amount of abraded rock material adhering to the magnets varied strongly during the mission and is correlated in a consistent way to the amount of magnetite inferred from M{\"o}ssbauer spectra for the corresponding rock. The RAT magnet experiment as performed on Opportunity also indicates the presence of a strongly ferrimagnetic phase in outcrops, such as magnetite or an altered version of magnetite. However, the evidence is weaker than in the case of Spirit. According to data from the α particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) and the M{\"o}ssbauer spectrometer (MB), the Eagle crater outcrops should not contain magnetite and their magnetization should not exceed 0.03 A m2 kg-1. However, this assertion seems to be in contradiction with the results of the RAT magnet experiment. The evidence for a strongly ferrimagnetic phase at low abundance in the Meridiani outcrops is discussed.",
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AU - Basso, Brandon

AU - Bell, James

AU - Bertelsen, Preben

AU - Binau, Charlotte S.

AU - Chu, Phillip C.

AU - Gorevan, S.

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AU - Klingelhöfer, Göstar

AU - Kusack, Alastair

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AU - Ming, Douglas W.

AU - Morris, Richard V.

AU - Mumm, Erik

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