Science Art: Perspective Cutaway View of a Rotary Hammering Sample Acquisition Section (Fig. 5) from NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20150003208

Scientific Illustration of a Single-Piezo-Actuator Rotary-Hammering Drill patent from NASA, used for gathering core samples from alien planets.

Scientific Illustration of a Single-Piezo-Actuator Rotary-Hammering Drill patent from NASA, used for samples.Click to embiggen

A way NASA plans to get core samples from Mars, the Jovian moon Europa, and beyond – a drill designed to cut bedrock.

From the NASA Technical Report on the device:

Using an average power of 50-Watts, the drill basalt is expected to cut basalt at a rate of 0.2 cm/min down to depth of 10-cm and create cuttings and an intact core. The drill is expected to operate under different environments including Martian ambient (6 Torr and down to -50 degree C), and liquid nitrogen temperatures (77 K) and low pressure (< <1 Torr) to simulate lunar polar and Europa conditions. Materials expected to be sampled include Kaolinite, Saddleback Basalt, Limestone, Volcanic Breccia, Siltstone, ice, permafrost and layered rocks with different hardness.

The full name of the publication is NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20150003208: Single Piezo-Actuator Rotary-Hammering (SPaRH) Drill, describing US Patent 8,657,027 B@, granted to CalTech’s Stewart Sherrit, Xiaoqi Bao, Mircea Badescu, and Yoseph Bar-Cohen about five years ago, in 2014. I found it on archive.org.