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A novel penetration system for in situ astrobiological studies

Gao, Y, Ellery, A, Jaddou, M, Vincent, J and Eckersley, S (2005) A novel penetration system for in situ astrobiological studies International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 2 (4). 281 - 286. ISSN 1729-8806

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Abstract

Due to ultraviolet flux in the surface layers of most solar bodies, future astrobiological research is increasingly seeking to conduct subsurface penetration and drilling to detect chemical signature for extant or extinct life. To address this issue, we present a micro-penetrator concept (mass < 10 kg) that is suited for extraterrestrial planetary deployment and in situ investigation of chemical and physical properties. The instrumentation in this concept is a bio-inspired drill to access material beneath sterile surface layer for biomarker detection. The proposed drill represents a novel concept of two-valve-reciprocating motion, inspired by the working mechanism of wood wasp ovipositors. It is lightweight (0.5 kg), driven at low power (3 W), and able to drill deep (1-2 m). Tests have shown that the reciprocating drill is feasible and has potential of improving drill efficiency without using any external force. The overall penetration system provides a small, light and energy efficient solution to in situ astrobiological studies, which is crucial for space engineering. Such a micro-penetrator can be used for exploration of terrestrial-type planets or other small bodies of the solar system with the minimum of modifications.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright 2005 the authors. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Users are granted the right to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the Work publicly, and to create and distribute derivative works in any medium and for any responsible purpose, as long as the Author receives credit as author, and the Book/Journal in which the Chapter/Article has been published is cited as the source of first publication of the Work.
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Electronic Engineering > Surrey Space Centre
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2012 15:37
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2013 19:10
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/199698

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