Smart Core-Bit Probe (SCOPe) employs ruggedized MEMS-based sensors for real-time monitoring of sample core integrity (compositional or morphological changes) and drill health during sample acquisition. SCOPe enables comprehensive preliminary in situ measurements (both dynamic and static) during sample acquisition and before retrieving the sample. This results in maximum science return, and enables rapid and accurate analyses of mineralogy and chemistry of the sample from initial acquisition to the end of the sample acquisition and handling chain.
The current state-of-the-art of shallow coring technologies is hindered by a lack of integrated ruggedized sensors for real-time monitoring of the core drill bit in order to transform the core drill bit from a mere cutting tool to a probe. This enables monitoring of samples from initial acquisition to the end of the sampling chain to preserve the integrity of the sample, and maximizes science return for all targets, especially astrobiological and subsurface volatile (ice phase) targets.
SCOPe integrates ruggedized MEMS sensors into a core drill bit to expand its functionality from a mere cutting tool to a probe. SOCPe can be mounted to any core drill system that accepts 64-mm direct-system drill bit shanks. The focus of the probe can be changed, depending on the application, by changing the MEMS device inside the probe.
The specific aim of this innovation, and a key discriminator in this approach, is to develop a general and widely applicable framework “At-The-Bit-Technology” that expands the core drill bit functionality from a mere cutting tool to a probe, independent of the drilling mechanism to which the core drill bit is mounted. SCOPe would provide the first ever framework for implementing down-hole in situ microanalytical technology, real-time monitoring of sample core integrity (compositional or morphological changes), and drill health during sample acquisition.
This work was done by Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, Harish Manohara, Risaku Toda, and Michael J. Shearn of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-47966