The Low Reaction Force Drill
UTD proposes to develop a low reaction force drilling system for use on micro-gravity environments based on UTD's patented Helical Drag Bit technology. The Helical Drag Bit is unique in that it self advances into the hole, and thus does not require a large reaction force. Drilling into the Martian surface will enable measurements essential to answer questions regarding that planet's geologic, hydrologic and climatic evolution. By enabling the quantification of subsurface geochemical environment, UTD's drilling system will permit scientists to answer diverse global questions, such as the chemical nature of the mantle and the details of diurnal and seasonal gas exchange between the atmosphere and the regolith. Although the intended primary target for this device is Mars, it can also be used to explore other planetary bodies for water and organics. Subsurface drilling technology developed under this SBIR will be directly applicable to NASA's Martian Surveyor missions as well as any future Lunar and outer Solar System missions. Generating the theoretical and empirical knowledge now will enable the future technological breakthroughs necessary to drill much deeper during later missions.
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