Surface Sample Preparation Tools
Honeybee Robotics’ involvement in the space industry was founded on our surface sample preparation tools. These have been used successfully without fault for the entirety of the Mars rover missions. Since these missions, Honeybee has been improving these mechanisms for future missions and has been developing new techniques for preparing surface samples and rocks.
The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was the first machine ever to gain access to the interior of rocks on Mars. Designed, developed, and operated by Honeybee Robotics as a part of NASA’s twin 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers science payload, the RAT is a form of space drill that uses grinding wheels of diamond dust and resin to abrade the surface of Martian rocks. To date, the RATs have completed hundreds of grinds, and the unit on Opportunity remains fully operational over a decade after the rover landed.
The Dust Removal Tool (DRT) is designed to help the Mars Science Laboratory expose the natural surfaces of Martian rocks obscured by layers of pervasive Martian dust. The DRT was integrated with the MSL rover in early 2011 and began a series of successful surface operations shortly after the rover landed at Mars’ Gale Crater in August 2012. It has been used frequently to examine areas of potential scientific interest, prior to drilling, analysis with ChemCam, or other contact science