The LITA Drill is a fully autonomous 8.5-kg rotary-percussive drill able to penetrate and collect rock and/or soil samples to a 1-meter depth completely autonomously. This drill is the next generation of Honeybee’s 40-kg 1-meter class Icebreaker drill that has been successfully tested under the low pressures and hostile temperatures found on Mars.
The LITA Drill has been tested in the Atacama Desert, where it was deployed from a rover built by David Wettergreen’s team at Carnegie Mellon University. This mission was designed to test for subsurface life, similar to future concepts for Mars exploration, where subsurface conditions may be more favorable for microbial activity. Previously, LITA also performed successfully in Mars-analog environments including the Arctic and in Antarctica.