On July 21–30, the Deployable Automation Technologies group, led by Brian Glass, tested automated control of the CRUX robotic planetary-prototype drill, in Haughton Crater on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic. Tests exceeded the first-year milestones and goals: in ten days reaching a depth of 8.5m (goal was 3m, and the best-ever accomplished previously at the site was 3.2m), demonstrating all known fault modes, and drilling under fully automated control (meeting an FY10 milestone, a year early).
Three media visits increased the visibility of Intelligent Systems Division technologies in future lunar and Mars surface exploration. The Haughton-Mars project shot a video on 7/21 that was posted to the NASA HQS Analogs YouTube site as well as the linked to the HMP main site; on 7/23 a film crew from National Geographic videotaped the drilling tests and interviewed staff for a documentary on planetary paleoclimates, due out in February 2010. Finally, on 7/30a BBC film crew for “Frozen Planet,” the sequel (due in 2011) to the acclaimed “Planet Earth,” filmed the drill and drilling operations into the crater permafrost.
NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Primary source: SMD Planetary Sciences, Astrobiology Instrument Development (ASTID) Program; also supported by ESMD Directorate Integration Office (DIO) Analogs Program
Contact: Brian Glass