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NASA has discovered the existence of water under the surface of Mars. To access this water, an automated drilling solution has been proposed. It has been the focus of the Trinity Tigernauts T.N.G. to automate the core removal system, one aspect of the overall automation. A mock drill was constructed based on the Johnson Space Center and Baker Hughes Inc. Mark II drill. The Tigernauts designed a robotic arm structure to remove the core sample from the drill bit of the mock drill. The automation process is controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC) interfacing with motors, encoders, and limit switches. The PLC automation code is complete and has been tested through simulation. In addition, the circuitry has been integrated with the PLC. The current prototype also performs several of the mechanical operations manually; however, full integration of the mechanical and electrical components has not be accomplished.
Bennett, Jeffrey; Izbinski, Konrad; Mullen, Eric; Pickford, Michael; and Wetzel, Lindsay, "Automatic Core Removal System for a Mars Drill" (2005). Engineering Senior Design Reports. 10.