NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 S4.02-8511
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling
PROPOSAL TITLE: SLUSH: Europa Hybrid Deep Drill

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics, Ltd.
63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150
Brooklyn, NY 11205 - 1070
(212) 966-0661

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Kris Zacny
398 W Washington Blvd. #200
Pasadena, CA 91103 - 2000
(626) 817-7986

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kristian Mueller
63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150
Brooklyn, NY 11205 - 1070
(626) 421-7902

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
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)
There are at least two fundamental design approaches one could use when trying to penetrate the icy shell on Europa and other planetary bodies: a melt probe and an electro-mechanical drill.

A melt probe uses a hot point to melt through ice and penetrate downward. In this regard, it is a very simple approach - it requires a heat source. However, the power required to melt 50-110K ice is 10s of kW, of which 90% is lost into the surrounding ice. In addition, melt probes will not penetrate anything else but ice, and if the heat is provided by integrated RTGs, the probe will overheat and melt if the conductive properties of ice change (e.g. if ice becomes porous, it will become a very good insulator).
The electro-mechanical approach is an order of magnitude more energy efficient than a melt probe. However, the drill needs to get rid of the cuttings it is generating. The drill can also freeze in-place if it encounters any liquid water. Numerous drills deployed in Antarctica, for example, froze in-place while drilling down the borehole, because ice tuned into liquid water at the cutter-ice interface.

We therefore propose a Hybrid approach that takes the best of both worlds and reduces risks posed by each of the options above. SLUSH is a hot-point electro-mechanical drill that cuts through ice using rotary-percussive action, and melts chips with its hot bit to form slush. The slush moves up the hole where it refreezes behind the drill. SLUSH is approximately 14 cm in diameter and 2.5 m long.

Because SLUSH uses mechanical action to break ice, it is significantly faster than a melt probe and also significantly more efficient, since slush does not have as much time to loose heat into the surrounding ice. Since SLUSH uses a hammer drill, it can also penetrate material with a significant fraction of insoluble material (e.g. silt).
An added benefit of SLUSH is that science instruments can draw liquid directly from the outside for analysis.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The primary application of SLUSH is in penetrating to subglacial oceans on Europa and possibly Enceladus. The system could also be deployed on Mars, in either the northern or the southern Polar Regions.

Subsystems developed for SLUSH could be used on many other planetary missions. For example power management, motors, and bits, percussive system can be infused into any other surface missions requiring sample acquisition. These missions include Venus in Situ Explorer, Venus Mobile Explorer, Lunar South Pole Aitken Basin Sample Return, and Mars Sample Return and so on.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Main non-NASA applications include penetrating to subglacial lakes in Antarctica as well as penetrating below Greenland ice sheet. Aseptic sampling of subglacial lakes is critical to astrobiology. A drill that can go through DHMR and is fully decoupled from the surface will be ideal for such an application. The SLUSH could also be used to deploy instruments and sensors (e.g. neutrino counters) around Antarctica. Since this would be a robotic system, the "field" season will not long be limited to a few summer months but could continuous through the year.

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.)
Actuators & Motors
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Heat Exchange
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59