Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
Research article
30 Jan 2015
Research article |  | 30 Jan 2015

Calibration of QM-MOURA three-axis magnetometer and gradiometer

M. Díaz-Michelena, R. Sanz, M. F. Cerdán, and A. B. Fernández

Abstract. MOURA instrument is a three-axis magnetometer and gradiometer designed and developed for Mars MetNet Precursor mission.

The initial scientific goal of the instrument is to measure the local magnetic field in the surroundings of the lander i.e. to characterize the magnetic environment generated by the remanent magnetization of the crust and the superimposed daily variations of the field produced either by the solar wind incidence or by the thermomagnetic variations. Therefore, the qualification model (QM) will be tested in representative scenarios like magnetic surveys on terrestrial analogues of Mars and monitoring solar events, with the aim to achieve some experience prior to the arrival to Mars.

In this work, we present a practical first approach for calibration of the instrument in the laboratory; a finer correction after the comparison of MOURA data with those of a reference magnetometer located in San Pablo de los Montes (SPT) INTERMAGNET Observatory; and a comparative recording of a geomagnetic storm as a demonstration of the compliance of the instrument capabilities with the scientific objectives.

Short summary
In situ magnetometry is key for planetary mineralogy. However, since magnetic instrumentation is considered secondary in Mars and Moon landers and rovers, magnetometers have often very restricted envelopes of mass, volume and power, and consequently limited functionality. In this work, it is presented the capability of MOURA small magnetometer and gradiometer to open a wide and novel scientific research on Mars mineralogy and paleomagnetism through the very complex calibration process.