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Planetary Exploration | Honeybee Robotics

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Honeybee Robotics is an award-winning contractor to NASA. We have delivered systems for the last three of NASA’s Mars landers – including the first drill ever to look inside a rock on Mars, and the sample-handling robot inside the Mars Science Laboratory. Our specialties in planetary exploration include robotic drilling, processing and sampling systems.

Honeybee Robotics Mars Science Laboratory Honeybee Robotics’ systems for drilling, coring, and physical sampling of Mars, the moon, and asteroids are designed to support scientific inquiry and human exploration. In support of our partners’ missions, we provide reliable, efficient methods for remote operations. Our physical analysis tools contribute to knowledge of planetary history, and are also applicable for in-situ resource utilization and space mining.

With unrivaled expertise in creating sampling systems that are both tool and instrument, Honeybee Robotics is contributing to a better understanding of our cosmic neighbors. New capabilities for robotic sample analysis, autonomous drilling, sample acquisition and processing, and in-situ resource utilization are critical precursors and elements of human exploration.

Planetary Drills for AstronautsOur R&D for space ranges from demonstrating high-performance near-term mechanisms and subsystems to generating futuristic concepts that push the frontiers of robotics. Honeybee personnel are world-class experts in their fields, publishing widely and serving on numerous Mission Science Teams, Science Definition Teams, and conference panels.

Honeybee has authored over 100 publications, and the company regularly contributes research to peer-reviewed journals and academic publications. Highlights of recent publications include:

To learn how Honeybee Robotics can help your planetary research project succeed, contact Kris Zacny and the Exploration Technology Group today.

Honeybee has developed a range of high-performance planetary technologies including:


  • Excavation systems
  • Surface regime geotechnical drills
  • 1-2 meter-deep exploration and sample collection drills
  • Deep subsurface drills
  • Sample processing
  • Geotechnical systems
  • Sensors and instruments

Our facilities are equipped with NASA-certified clean rooms and unique space environment simulation chambers, enabling Honeybee to develop systems that will work reliably in the harsh environments of space.

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