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Pneumatic Proboscis Heat Flow Probe

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Honeybee Robotics
460 West 34th Street New York, NY 10001-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Pneumatic Proboscis Heat Flow Probe
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CH25P
Award Amount: $99,966.00


The heat flow probe directly answers requirements in the topic: S1.11 Lunar Science Instruments and Technology: "Geophysical Measurements: Systems, subsystems, and components for heat flow sensorsÂ?" The primary objective of the Phase I/II is to develop TRL6, robust, low-power and low-mass instrument for geothermal heat flow measurement for small robotic lunar landers. A key challenge is to install thermal sensors to the depths > ~3 m, below the fluctuations of the surface thermal environment, with little thermal disturbance to the regolith. The proposed system is novel in two respects: 1) it utilizes a pneumatic (gas) approach, excavates a hole by lofting the lunar soil out of the hole, and 2) deploys the heat flow probe, which utilizes a coiled up tape with 10 equally spaced RTDs and a cone with thermal needle (for conductivity measurement) to reach >3 meter depth. The system is a game-changer for small lunar landers; it exhibits extremely low mass, volume, and simple deployment. The pneumatic system takes advantage of the Helium gas used for pressurizing lander propellant. In vacuum experiments we found that 1g of gas at 5 psia could loft ~6000g of lunar soil simulant at >10m/s.

Principal Investigator:

Kris Zacny
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Chris Chapman
Small Business Information at Submission:

Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 West 34th Street New York, NY -

EIN/Tax ID: 880193033
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No