Analyzing Venus, Earth’s sister planet, is of high scientific interest. The planet is similar in size to Earth, but conditions at the surface present a challenging environment of intense pressure and heat (more than 90 atmospheres and 460°C). Understanding the geology of Venus will help scientists better understand the planet and the formation of the Solar System.
Acquiring samples of Venus in these conditions requires a drill that can withstand the hot, high pressure conditions, operate on a small power budget, and take samples relatively quickly to maximize the scientific value of any future rover or lander. Honeybee is developing such a Venus Drill that can deploy from a small craft and gather rock powder for analysis by on-board instruments.
The percussive drill is designed to penetrate up to a few centimeters into Venetian rock. A hollow drill bit will create powder, which can be transported by a pneumatic system to on-board instruments. The drill and its integrated high-temperature actuators will be at TRL 5/6 following testing.