A new sampler is similar to a common snow blower, but is robust and effective in sample collection. The brush wheels are arranged in a triangle shape, each driven by a brushless DC motor and planetary gearhead embedded in the wheel shaft. Its speed can be varied from 800–2,000 rpm, depending on the surface regolith resistance. The sample-collecting flow path, and internal features, are designed based on flow dynamics, and the sample-collecting rates have consistently exceeded the requirement under various conditions that span the range of expected surface properties.
The brush-wheel sampler (BWS) (as is shown in the figure) is designed so that the flow channel is the main body of the apparatus, and links the brush-wheel assembly to the sample canister. The combination of the three brush wheels, the sample flow path, and the canister location make sample collection, storage, and transfer an easier task.
This work was done by Geoffrey A. Duckworth, Jun Liu, and Mark G. Brown of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact