Titan Pneumatic Sampling System
Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is a compelling scientific target. The planet-like moon is the only place outside of Earth with known bodies of sustained surface liquids — except the liquid oceans on Titan are not water, but liquid hydrocarbons. The surface temperature is -180°C, and a thick atmosphere obscures views of the surface from orbit.
To support future exploration missions, Honeybee is developing an end-to-end sample acquisition and pneumatic delivery system. The Titan Pneumatic Sampling System gathers materials from the surface of Titan and delivers them to scientific instruments or sample caches. The system, which will be at TRL 6 by the end of its development in 2018, will enable a variety of mission architectures because it could be deployed not only from a lander or rover but also from a suspended platform such as a balloon or copter. The project is funded by the NASA COLDTech program and is a collaborative effort with JHU-APL.