Robotics and Automation for “Icebreaker”
Article first published online: 14 NOV 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Field Robotics
Special Issue: Special Issue on Space Robotics, Part 2
Volume 31, Issue 1, pages 192–205, January/February 2014
How to Cite
Glass, B. J., Dave, A., McKay, C. P. and Paulsen, G. (2014), Robotics and Automation for “Icebreaker”. J. Field Robotics, 31: 192–205. doi: 10.1002/rob.21487
- Issue published online: 18 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 14 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Received: 12 DEC 2012
- NASA's Astrobiology Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP)
- Astrobiology Instrument Development Programs (ASTID)
The proposed “Icebreaker” mission is a return to the Mars polar latitudes first visited by the Phoenix mission in 2007–2008. Exploring and interrogating the shallow subsurface of Mars from the surface will require some form of excavation and penetration, with drilling being the most mature approach. A series of 0.5–5 m automated rotary and rotary-percussive drills developed over the past decade by NASA Ames and Honeybee Robotics provide the capability to fly on a Mars surface mission within the next decade. Surface robotics have been integrated for sample transfer to deck instruments, and the Icebreaker sample acquisition system has been tested successfully in Mars chambers and analog field sites to depths between 1 and 3 m, most recently in the Antarctic Dry Valleys in January of 2013. This paper provides a hardware and software systems overview of the Icebreaker sample acquisition system, and discusses test results of this robotic system in relevant environments. Test results from recent Arctic and Antarctic field campaigns demonstrate a hands-off “dust to data” capability.