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Planetary Vacuum Cleaner for Venus and Mars, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The majority of planetary bodies of interest to exploration are covered with a layer of granular material called regolith. These bodies include the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Asteroids, Comets and moons of Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. Surface missions to these bodies, would most probably require some type of a sampling system to capture samples and deliver them to in-situ instruments or sample return containers. Honeybee Robotics, therefore, proposes to develop a robust on-demand sample acquisition and delivery system enabled by a high efficiency blower. The system will be akin to conventional vacuum cleaners on Earth, but adapted for Venus conditions. As such, the main technology areas will include development of the following four subsystems: Blower, Cyclone, Nozzle and Tubing; with the Blower being most critical. The target mission will be Venus In Situ Explorer (VISE), however, the technology could be adopted to Mars missions. We will use CFD FLUENT to perform blower and cyclone analysis simulating Venus' atmosphere and gravity, as gravity affects cyclone performance. We will fabricate and test a blower under relevant pressure conditions in a high pressure chamber. We will also fabricate a cyclone and suction tubes. The system will be assembled to allow end to end testing. Further, we will develop a TRL 5/6 design for the pneumatic system, which would be fabricated and tested in Phase 2 More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

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