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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Pyramid Comet Sampler

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Pyramid Comet Sampler, Phase I
Based on the sampling requirements, we propose an Inverted Pyramid sampling system. Each face of the pyramid includes a cutting blade which is independently actuated by redundant pyrotechnic actuators. Such sampler shape has a number of advantages. The pyramidal V shape acts as an arrow piercing into the comet surface at a steep angle. The 4 opposing blades offset tangential forces, meaning that only vertical forces would need to be reacted during impact. These forces could be minimized by making the pyramid height low (and in turn the pyramid would be more flat). In the latest Decadal Survey, the committee recommended selecting a Comet Surface Sample Return mission as one of the five New Frontiers 4 (NF4) missions, solidifying the importance of studying returned physical samples from a comet. Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return could also benefit from the development of this sampling approach. More »

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