Autonomous Tethered Corer for Deep Drilling
UTD proposes to develop a lightweight, tethered autonomous small diameter core drill capable of reaching 10 and even 200 m in depth. The proposed approach is consistent with the planetary protection requirements and can be used to extract intact and tailings samples for biological and geological research on Mars. While the proposed drill is optimized for Mars environment, it can be used on other celestial bodies. The main advantage of the autonomous core drill and the emphasis of the proposed research are mass saving due to the bracing, deployment, and retrieval systems that are lighter, less complex, and have smaller launch envelope than currently proposed drive stem drills powered from the surface. The latter approach is limited to depths around 10 m since its efficiency drops precipitously with depth. The proposed system should fit the envelope of 40 kg and 200-300 watt-hrs per meter advance in medium hardness rock formations.
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