Solving the Mysteries of the Moon's Magnetic Regions

The Vector Magnetometers will make novel measurements of the magnetic field at the Moon’s Reiner Gamma swirl as part of the APL-led Lunar Vertex science investigation.

About the Instruments

The Vector Magnetometers are key elements of the Lunar Vertex mission, working in tandem to characterize the source of the Reiner Gamma magnetic anomaly. The Vector Magnetometer-Lander (VML) is a primary ring-core fluxgate magnetometer with an array of miniature commercial magnetometers used to sense the lander field. VML is mounted in a mast on the top lander deck, and operates during descent, determining the altitude profile of the local lunar magnetic field starting at about 18 miles (30 kilometers) above the surface. Once the lander arrives on the surface, VML will continue to measure the strength and direction of the magnetic field.

The Vector Magnetometer-Rover (VMR) includes an array of miniature fluxgate magnetometers that will track the geometry and intensity of the magnetic field at Reiner Gamma. As the rover drives across the surface, it will occasionally stop to collect measurements with VMR. The data on the magnetic field will be correlated with observations of the soil obtained with the Rover Multispectral Microscope. This information will enable scientists to learn how the magnetic anomaly and swirl may have been formed.

Both VML and VMR employ sophisticated gradiometry that allows the instrument to separate the natural lunar magnetic field from any fields generated by the vehicle.


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