On Earth, amateur and sometimes professional scientists collect dust from the tops of buildings or mountains (see also) and separate it with a magnet to obtain meteoric material. Not all meteoric material is ferromagnetic, but plenty is.

I am curious if anything has ever been done a similar test on another solar system body, Mars, Moon or otherwise.

CNET's NASA Perseverance Mars rover investigates 'odd' rock, zaps it says:

Mars is a haven for meteorites, and it's always notable when a rover comes across one of these emissaries from space. Scientists are scrutinizing a holey rock spotted by NASA's Perseverance rover that bears a resemblance to meteorites seen elsewhere.

and here's another example from this answer to Who discovered “Egg Rock”? The Curiosity rover or people?

Egg rock

Question: I'm simply wondering; has anybody or anyrover dragged a magnet across any solar system body to see what gets picked up or made magnetic measurements of specific rocks or particles?

note: If I had a rover on Mars I'd have it throw out a fishing line with many thin, flat rare earth magnets and "fish" for magnetic particles by dragging it along for a while, then go back and check it with a MAHLI-type inspection. Of course it would get hung up and jeopardize the mission and they wouldn't let me have any more rovers to play with.


2 Answers 2


Not a rover, but Surveyor 7 had magnets on its sampling arm.

This spacecraft was similar in design to the previous Surveyors, but it carried more scientific equipment including a television camera with polarizing filters, a surface sampler, bar magnets on two footpads, two horseshoe magnets on the surface scoop, and auxiliary mirrors. 



Three Surveyor probes had magnets on them.

Surveyor 5, 6, and 7 had a magnet attached to one of the spacecraft footpads to determine magnetic properties and composition of the soil. Surveyor 7 had additional magnets on a second footpad and the surface sampler. Photographs showing the amount of dust adhering to magnets indicated the amount of magnetic particles in the soil and allowed estimates of the lunar soil compositions when compared with premission experiment photographs of magnets in terrestrial soils of various compositions.

As side note, Surveyor 7,

was also the first spacecraft to detect "moonglow" -- the faint glow on the lunar horizon after dark that is caused by light reflected from moon dust in the lunar atmosphere.


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