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Testing the Exomars Drill in Mars-Like conditions
"The ExoMars mission foresees, in its operational scenario on Mars, the acquisition and on board processing of soil samples taken at depths down to 2 meters. Once extracted, the sample is transferred to the Rover on-board scientific instrumentation for analysis. The key element for the acquisition of the samples is the ExoMars Drill, based on a multi-rod concept. At the time being, a preliminary Engineering Qualification Model (pre-EQM) of the ExoMars Drill has been manufactured and integrated. Such model includes both parts that are already at qualification level (namely the structure and the mechanics) and parts at commercial level that later on will be upgraded to EQM level (e.g. the actuators). The Drill pre-EQM, commanded by the Engineering Model of its Control Unit (electronics and software), is undergoing a thorough test campaign. At the time this abstract has been written, two “vertical survey” have been completed in laboratory conditions, while a test campaign in Mars-Like conditions is about to start. The “vertical survey”, one of the mission objectives of the ExoMars Drill, consists in drilling the soil up to two meters depth while collecting samples of the soil every 50cm, namely at 0m, 0.5m, 1m, 1.5m and 2m depth. As anticipated above, an intense test campaign in laboratory conditions has been carried out completing two complete vertical surveys in suitable stratigraphies composed of a variety of Mars-analogue materials. Ten samples have been collected throughout this test and the two meters depth has been reached two times. Results of this campaign will be presented in the final paper and during the presentation. In these days (February 2013), a very important step forward is in the pipeline for the ExoMars Drill: perform deep drilling and sampling (up to 2m depth) in Mars-Like conditions. This environmental test campaign will be executed utilizing a dedicated facility designed and built at CISAS (University of Padova) in order to reproduce Mars-Like conditions in terms of temperatures, atmospheric composition and pressure. The facility is also able to host a dedicated sample container, filled with Mars-analogue rocks and regolith/sands, capable to reproduce the temperatures of the Mars soil itself. The paper will present the main steps and the results obtained in this important test campaign that, upon completion, will release TRL 6 for the ExoMars Drill."
Fumagalli Alessandro, Re Edoardo, Senese Samuel, Magnani Piergiovanni, Rizzi Francesco, Gily Alessandro, Durrant Stephen, Baglioni Pietro
Paper for Seminar/Symposium/Conference
IAC 2013 - International Astronautical Congress (23-27 September 2013, Beijing, China)
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