Our innovation significantly improves instrument measurement capabilities for planetary science missions such as Discovery, New Frontiers, Mars Exploration, and other planetary programs (see Part 2.2). It has potential to become a critical new instrument in NASA?s exploration toolbox that can replace already-flown in-situ sensing technologies in future mission opportunities. The following missions highlighted by the PSD will specifically benefit from IBISS: a) landed exploration missions to Venus, Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan, comets, and asteroids; b) sample return missions to Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids. In addition, IBISS may be used to identify and map available planetary in-situ resources, and to spur the development of autonomous in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) devices for robotic and human missions.
IBISS responds to critical challenges at the scientific/engineering boundaries of drilling and sensing; in particular, the challenges involved in characterizing subsurface materials in-situ and in real-time. Conventional methods involve drilling and coring, and the analysis of cores in off-site laboratories. Not only is this approach laborious, time consuming, and dangerous for human operators, but the results are not uniformly reliable and typically not available for weeks. In response to this challenge, we will combine concepts and methodologies from two different disciplines in a revolutionary way. While drilling robotics and LIBS spectroscopic sensing are established fields, we will combine them, for the first time, to develop a new tool for subsurface geochemical/mineralogical investigations. IBISS will enable: (i) the development of other new techniques and methodologies based on spectroscopic subsurface investigations (e.g. Raman); (ii) technological spin-offs that will constitute scientific advancements for the Earth, environmental, and planetary sciences, invite industrial applications, e.g. geological prospecting; environmental monitoring/assessment; agricultural soil quality monitoring; oil & gas exploration and development, and bolster homeland security initiatives