NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S5.02-9592
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Sample Collection, Processing, and Handling
PROPOSAL TITLE: 5 in 1 Drill For Mars Sample Return Mission

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 W. 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(212) 966-0661

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kris Zacny
460 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(510) 207-4555

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA is investigating a Mars Sample Return Mission, consisting of at least three separate missions: 1) Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher, MAX-C (sample acquisition and caching), 2) A fetch rover and the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), 3) Earth Return Vehicle (ERV).
The primary goal of the MAX-C mission is to acquire ~20 cores, 1cm diameter by 5cm long, and place them in a cache for return back to Earth. Before deciding which cores to return, scientists would also need to analyze rocks in-situ. The tasks required for the MAX-C mission therefore would include:

1. Acquisition of 1cm x 5 cm core for earth return
2. Acquisition of a core for in-situ analysis
3. Acquisition of rock powder for in situ analysis
4. Brushing of rocks for in situ analysis (as done on MER)
5. Abrading of rocks for in situ analysis (as done on MER)

In this proposal we are advocating an approach used every day in terrestrial applications; that is having a single appliance (drill) with many attachments (various bit types for coring, caching, abrading, brushing and powder acquisition) for different applications. This approach offers mass, cost and volume savings and thus will be particularly attractive to the MAX-C mission.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Future robotic astrobiology and geology missions such as Mars Sample Return, Astrobiology Field Laboratory and other Mid-Range Rover missions will benefit greatly from the ability to produce and capture rock and regolith cores, abrade and brush rock surfaces using an arm-deployed, compact, low mass, low power device.
A system utilizing a surface drill and a suite of bits for different applications could be deployed during lunar sortie missions by astronauts (i.e., hand held coring drill) since it is desirable to bring small cores back as opposed to large rocks, and/or abrade rocks in situ.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Scientists often use small drills to acquire core samples for the study of everything from geological classification to ocean drilling and surveying. Traditionally, petroleum engineers will use large cores to extract information about boundaries between sandstone, limestone, and shale. This process is time consuming so smaller cores are sometimes taken. This method of sampling is called sidewall coring and provides more information to the petroleum engineer than simply logged data. Scientists studying earthquake mechanics could also benefit in a similar fashion. Automation of this process would save time and money; enabling the science goals of the research with reduced schedule and budget risk/impact.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12