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J. M. Goldspiel, F. Giovane, J. F. Seely (NRL), J. L. Hill (III) (UTD, Inc.), C. Boyer (USRA), G. Holland (SFA, Inc.), S. W. Squyres (Cornell), H. U. Keller (MPAe), G. Strazzulla (Citta)
We propose to develop a low mass, low power device that can drill a borehole to a depth of 10 m or more into the surface of Mars. The ability to bore a 10 m deep hole will allow several important Mars exploration objectives to be addressed. These include the determination of the chemical composition of soil and rock below the surface, the identification of subsurface H2O, and the advancement of technology for drilling more deeply into the Martian regolith.
Our design derives from technologies used in terrestrial boring operations and is based on extensive industrial drilling experience. The open borehole will allow for the insertion of sensing probes to observe stratigraphy and determine the chemical and elemental composition of the subsurface. The device will also allow surface instrumentation to study the cuttings extracted and volatiles released during the drilling process. When observed with the proper instrumentation, these downhole and top side measurements can identify the presence of water and organic compounds, as well as other geochemically important materials, as a precise function of depth below the Martian surface.
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