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15 April 2011 Auto-Gopher: a wire-line rotary-hammer ultrasonic drill
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Developing technologies that would enable NASA to sample rock, soil, and ice by coring, drilling or abrading at a significant depth is of great importance for a large number of in-situ exploration missions as well as for earth applications. Proven techniques to sample Mars subsurface will be critical for future NASA astrobiology missions that will search for records of past and present life on the planet, as well as the search of water and other resources. A deep corer, called Auto-Gopher, is currently being developed as a joint effort of the JPL's NDEAA laboratory and Honeybee Robotics Corp. The Auto-Gopher is a wire-line rotary- hammer drill that combines rock breaking by hammering using an ultrasonic actuator and cuttings removal by rotating a fluted bit. The hammering mechanism is based on the Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corer (USDC) that has been developed as an adaptable tool for many of drilling and coring applications. The USDC uses an intermediate free-flying mass to transform the high frequency vibrations of the horn tip into a sonic hammering of a drill bit. The USDC concept was used in a previous task to develop an Ultrasonic/Sonic Ice Gopher. The lessons learned from testing the ice gopher were implemented into the design of the Auto-Gopher by inducing a rotary motion onto the fluted coring bit. A wire-line version of such a system would allow penetration of significant depth without a large increase in mass. A laboratory version of the corer was developed in the NDEAA lab to determine the design and drive parameters of the integrated system. The design configuration lab version of the design and fabrication and preliminary testing results are presented in this paper.
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Mircea Badescu, Stewart Sherrit, Xiaoqi Bao, Yoseph Bar-Cohen, and Beck Chen "Auto-Gopher: a wire-line rotary-hammer ultrasonic drill", Proc. SPIE 7981, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2011, 79813U (15 April 2011);

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