Honeybee Robotics and NASA offer students chance to operate space drill

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As part of ongoing efforts to excite students for potential careers in science and technology, Honeybee Robotics and NASA are letting students at schools across the country remotely participate in a space drill testing program currently underway in Antarctica. The NASA and Honeybee teams are visiting public schools in California, Arizona and New York, offering live video chats with researchers on the ground in McMurdo, Antarctica, and letting students issue remote commands to Honeybee’s Icebreaker drill as it goes through trials in the Mars analog environment.

“Working in remote environments is often an essential part of testing planetary space systems, such as space drills,” said Kris Zacny, Vice President & Director, Exploration Technology at Honeybee Robotics. “Combining these field programs with educational outreach connects students to the research in a thrilling way. Everyone agrees that it’s uplifting to see our work inspire and amaze the next generation of engineers and scientists.”

The IceBreaker testing program is scheduled to last five weeks in Antarctica, where it will test remote and autonomous operation of the drill and associated systems in preparation for a potential mission to Mars. The testing program is funded by NASA ASTEP and ASTID programs, for which Dr. Chris McKay and Dr. Brian Glass are principal investigators.