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Automated Control of CRUX Robotic Planetary Prototype Drill Tested in Haughton Crater

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

10/13/2009

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