The near term application includes NASA's Flagship-class Europa Clipper mission and in particular its lander that requires a sampling system. This SBIR funded technology would transition very well into the actual mission. Europa lander will launch in approximately 2024. This Phase 1 work would end in December of 2017, while the Phase 2 work (TRL6) would end in Dec of 2019. Thus, at the end of 2019 with at least 5 years before the actual launch, the TRL6 sampling system or critical subsystems of the sampling system deemed important by the Europa team could be infused into the actual mission. Other NASA missions that could include this sampling system (or certain subsystems of this sampling system) include: 1. Discovery-class missions to icy-bodies, including Mars; 2. New Frontiers class missions such as Comet Nucleus Surface Sample Return, Lunar South Pole Aitken Basin Sample Return, Venus In Situ Explorer; 3. In the Flagship class category, in addition to the Clipper mission, another mission that could use the sampling system includes the second mission in the Mars Sample Return Program - Mars Ascent Vehicle. It is prudent to have a backup sampling system adjacent to the MAV. In the HEOMD directorate, In Situ Resource Utilization missions to Mars, asteroids, or the Moon, such as Asteroid Redirect Robotic or Crew Mission (ARRM, ARCM) or Resource Prospector Mission could use this technology.
The sampling technology system could be used by several commercial companies that are interested in mining and in-situ resource utilization for financial gain. These include Planetary Resources, Inc. and Deep Space Industries, Inc., targeting asteroids and Shackleton Energy Corp, targeting the Moon. The ultimate goal of SpaceX is to establish human presence on Mars. As such, SpaceX would also benefit from mature sampling and mining technologies. Other non-NASA applications include robotic acquisition of volatiles as well as soil and liquid samples from hazardous environments - chemical spills, nuclear waste, oil spills. Examples include samples from nuclear waste sites as well as disaster sites (Fukushima nuclear reactor).