Sample acquisition is one of the most critical and at the same time most difficult operations on the surface of a planetary body. For the past 10 years, funded via SBIR Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 (funding provided by the Planetary Society), Honeybee Robotics has been developing a pneumatic based sample acquisition and transfer system. The system resembles a terrestrial vacuum cleaner (hence PlanetVac) but it works in vacuum (terrestrial vacuum cleaners do not work in vacuum). With Masten Space Systems (Masten), Honeybee Robotics plans to test a full scale PlanetVac system and demonstrate a touch and go sample acquisition and capture. The demonstrations will include 1. take off and landing, 2. sample acquisition and capture into onboard container, 3. take off (and landing). The demonstrations will take place in Mojave Desert, which resembles planetary surfaces covered with regolith (Mars, Moon, Asteroids).
SBIR Phase I (2016)
PlanetVac website at the Planetary Society
2014 IEEE Aerospace Conference paper: PlanetVac: Pneumatic regolith sampling system.
The technology allows for a small, lightweight sample acquisition system for use in microgravity that does not require electrical power. It will help future NASA lander missions.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Honeybee Robotics Ltd. - Brooklyn||Lead Organization||Industry||Brooklyn, New York|
|Honeybee Robotics, Ltd.||Supporting Organization||Industry||Pasadena, California|