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NASA is in the process of developing an autonomous drill for use in an unmanned mission to Mars. NASA along with Baker Hughes, Inc. (BHI) has designed a drill capable of drilling a core sample from as deep as twenty meters below the Martian surface. Since the mission is unmanned, an automated process for removal of drilled material from the drill is needed. The Trinity Tigernauts, T.N.G. design group is working on an automation system for the Mars drill that will assist in recovery of these core samples. These samples could be analyzed for signs of water and life. The team researched space automation, interplanetary automation, and automated interplanetary drilling, and visited related collaborators. Ultimately, the Tigernauts developed a prototype system on paper for this removal process. Next semester the team plans to construct and test this prototype design.
Izbinski, Konrad; Mullen, Eric; Wetzel, Lindsay; Bennett, Jeffrey; and Pickford, Michael, "Automated Core Removal System for the NASA/BHI Mars Drill" (2005). Engineering Senior Design Reports. 9.