5 in 1 Drill For Mars Sample Return Mission
NASA is investigating a Mars Sample Return Mission, consisting of at least three separate missions: 1) Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher, MAX-C (sample acquisition and caching), 2) A fetch rover and the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), 3) Earth Return Vehicle (ERV).The primary goal of the MAX-C mission is to acquire ~20 cores, 1cm diameter by 5cm long, and place them in a cache for return back to Earth. Before deciding which cores to return, scientists would also need to analyze rocks in-situ. The tasks required for the MAX-C mission therefore would include:1. Acquisition of 1cm x 5 cm core for earth return
2. Acquisition of a core for in-situ analysis
3. Acquisition of rock powder for in situ analysis
4. Brushing of rocks for in situ analysis (as done on MER)
5. Abrading of rocks for in situ analysis (as done on MER)
In this proposal we are advocating an approach used every day in terrestrial applications; that is having a single appliance (drill) with many attachments (various bit types for coring, caching, abrading, brushing and powder acquisition) for different applications. This approach offers mass, cost and volume savings and thus willbe particularly attractive to the MAX-C mission.
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