NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 S4.02-9939
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling
PROPOSAL TITLE: Surface Abrasion Tool

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Bear Technologies, LLC
1163 Tricounty Dr.
Oilville, VA 23129 - 2222
(804) 708-0311

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Tom Myrick
1163 Tricounty Dr.
Oilville, VA 23129 - 2222
(804) 708-0311

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Karron Myrick
1163 Tricounty Dr.
Oilville, VA 23129 - 2222
(804) 708-0310

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) Final Report reiterates the importance of planetary sample return stating that sample return architectures provide a promising intersection of objectives for long term collaborations. The proposed innovation is an enabling technology for robotic planetary sample return missions. The proposed concept is a passive mechanism that works within a larger sample drilling system. Bear developed a complete planetary sample acquisition system called the Universal Sampling System (USS) which includes the baseline drill with Non-Rotating Technology (NRT Coring Drill) which was funded under a SBIR Phase 2 contract. Bear has several concepts for creating additional capabilities among them is the proposed Surface Abrasion Tool (SAT). The proposed innovation is a critical system component for meeting the science objectives of planetary sample return. Bear proposes to research and advance a Rock Abrasion (MER Rovers) like tool that can attach to and is driven by an existing coring drill thus requiring no additional motors. The proposed innovation has broad significance for the exploration of planets and small bodies. The proposed project is directly relevant to the topic as it addresses the importance of technologies for robotic mobility, manipulation, and sampling for in-situ analysis or return to earth from planetary small bodies, including Mars, Venus, comets, asteroids, and planetary Moons.

Two main goals of the research are to:
1. Develop a method for attaching the surface abrasion tool to the larger coring drill without additional motors or wires.
2. Research the possible benefits/tradeoffs of cutting rather than grinding to remove rock surface with power constraints.
Regardless of which technique is used to prepare the surface (cutting or grinding), the passive tool will strive to reduce the time it takes to prepare rock surfaces versus state of the art.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
As part of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)'s planetary exploration missions, its scientists and engineers are developing in-situ sample collection mechanisms. The mechanisms need to be compact, efficient, low mass, and consume low power. [7] It is believed that this SAT will meet and exceed the need described in the subtopic and appeal to both the overall strategy of planetary exploration and to the flagship mission of Mars Sample Return [8]. The device can be tailored to any planetary science mission.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
If the concept of cutting for large area surface abrasion in harsh environments proves out, the technology has applications for surface abrasion on earth. The design can be modified specifically for underwater research applications from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where sample collection for study of coral colonies is also a program requirement. (Solicitation: NOAA 2012-1)

Additionally, the abrading method and tools that result from the research can prepare harsh environment earth surfaces for sample collection and testing; for example, mining environments, volcanoes and deep sea areas of scientific interest. There is potential to use the abrading tool in nuclear sites as well.

SBIR funding supports Bear's 10-year commercialization and growth strategies. Bear has two main focus areas:
1. R & D/producing flight and mission hardware to NASA and other end-user agencies.
2. Developing and Licensing technology for industrial applications.

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.)
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

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