Future NASA exploration missions are increasingly seeking to conduct sampling, in-situ analysis and possibly return samples to Earth for further tests. Missions to Mars are the more near term projects that are seeking such capabilities. One of the major limitations of sampling on Mars and other low gravity environments is the need for high axial force when using conventional drilling. To address this limitation an ultrasonic/sonic drilling/coring (USDC) mechanism has been developed that employs an ultrasonic horn driven by a piezoelectric stack. The horn drives a free mass that resonates between the horn and drill stem. Tests have shown that the USDC addresses some of the key challenges to the NASA sampling objectives. The USDC is lightweight (450 g), requires low preload (< 5N) and can be driven at lower power (5W). The device has been shown to drill rocks with various levels of hardness including granite, diorite, basalt and limestone. The hammering action involved with the coring process can produce cores of various shapes, which need not necessarily be round. Because it is driven by piezoelectric ceramics, the USDC is highly tolerant to changes in its operating environment. These actuation materials can be designed to operate at a wide range of temperatures including those expected on Mars and Venus. Although the drill is driven electrically at 20 kHz, a substantial sub-harmonic acoustic component is found that is crucial to drilling performance. An analytical model has been developed to explain this low frequency coupling in the horn, free mass, drill stem and rock.