This week, Honeybee Robotics published a paper in the journal Astrobiology describing our work to develop and test the 1-meter class Icebreaker Mars drill. The drill is designed to take multiple core samples from regions of Mars known to contain abundant water ice, where life may be hiding underneath the surface. By sampling at 10cm increments down to a depth of 1 meter, we can search for subsurface biomolecular evidence for life, where conditions may be more favorable for microbes.
We’ve tested this drill in some of the harshest conditions on the planet — including in the Arctic and the Antarctic Dry Valleys, as well as in a Mars environmental chamber.
Many thanks to our partners at NASA Ames, Space Exploration Technologies, and the SETI Institute for their contributions to this project.
You can download the report for free at http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ast.2013.1038