Concept for a Mars Surface Prospector
With centrally mounted drilling assembly
having multiple attachments and modes of operation
(with thanks for input to Mike Sims, Geoff Briggs and Warren Damer)

A) Overhead view of rover as drilling platform

Rover acts as extra torque for deeper drilling or as primary drive train, reducing the number of motors. There could still be a centrally mounted drilling motor system that could be assisted by the entire rover platform. Some issues: If one wheel is up high you might need a stabilization mechanism.


B) Concept for drilling assembly

Rotary top plate or drilling assembly has a drilling stabilization assembly, drill drivetrain, and an offset attachment selector rotating around independently of the drill assembly to deliver new accessories and to rotate samples around to recepticles for analysis. As to the design of the drill line, stringers or telescoping extensions or slightly off round piece that twist within another outer tube section could produce straight or angled drilling line.Designs from Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) could come into play here.
C) Concepts for types and uses for attachements

Many types of drilling or sampling attachments could be mounted and used including augers, corers with electrically heated tips for melting through ice or permafrost, rock breaking hammer on a spring, scoops and other samplers and cameras/sensors.
You could employ the use of drift needle to help guide auger
The multi-driver home hardware screwdriver is a good compact design for a multiple bit system.


Sketch of whole concept
(Compiled March 6, 2002, from a discussion with Mike Sims on March 2, 2002)

Bruce Damer, 2002