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#1 2007-02-09 11:57:42

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Drilling on Mars

Really deep drilling vertically from the surface by conventional methods, for whatever purpose, would seem virtually impossible with any tooling capable of being transported from Earth. Landing on the floors of the deep canyons might be motivated by the prospect of drilling horizontal or slanted holes, a kilometre or more below the rim but only a relatively short distance into the sides of the canyons. Not having to support its own weight, the shafting could be lighter and capable of assembly without derricks. The method of drilling might even be hydraulic, by push-pull instead of turning, once beyond the frozen regolith, the effuent analyzed for mineral content, and the water purified for living purposes.

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#2 2007-10-27 16:14:03

dryson
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From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-16
Posts: 104

Re: Drilling on Mars

I worked on an oil rig for a brief time and what I learnt while I was there was that drilling is an art form. You have to have a certain type of touch and be able to feel through the controls and the pipe what is going on under the surface.

I don't think the usual Earth based drilling equipment would work on Mars.

A different approach would be to develop a mining laser that combines maybe four or five lasers in such a manner that they would minick the action of the drilling process. As the laser bores into the ground the need for a means to remove the cuttings would be eleviated due to the heating and glassifiying of the ground (Glassify - verb, means to heat a surface or area to a point where the surface takes on a smooth molten appearance.

The only problem with this appraoch is that when you drilled through a gas pocket the lasers would ignite the gas creating a blowout which will destroy the mining rig.

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#3 2007-10-28 11:06:17

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 2,508
Website

Re: Drilling on Mars

The only problem with this appraoch is that when you drilled through a gas pocket the lasers would ignite the gas creating a blowout which will destroy the mining rig.

Only if you've Terraformed Mars first. If you haven't there is no O2 to burn.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#4 2007-10-28 18:39:21

dryson
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From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-16
Posts: 104

Re: Drilling on Mars

Only if you've Terraformed Mars first. If you haven't there is no O2 to burn.

What about other gases that have low temperature flash points that are on Mars? Would the drilling process in any way ignite them?

If not then this may be a very good idea on how to drill for various reasons

1. Lasers are ran off of electricty and not fossil fuels like the big oil rigs are. A solar collection array could be set up to collect the UV rays then convert those rays into the electrical power needed to operate the laser drill.

2. Less equipment hauled to Mars mean less money spent on fossil fueled vehicles

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#5 2007-10-29 04:46:16

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 2,508
Website

Re: Drilling on Mars

The current composition of the Martian atmosphere is:

CO2: 95.32%

Nitrogen: 2.7%

Argon: 1.6%

O2: 0.13%

CO: 0.07%

H2O: 0.03%

neon, krypton, xenon, ozone, methane: Trace

I got my info here.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#6 2007-11-03 18:48:44

dryson
Member
From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-16
Posts: 104

Re: Drilling on Mars

The current composition of the Martian atmosphere is:

CO2: 95.32%

Nitrogen: 2.7%

Argon: 1.6%

O2: 0.13%

CO: 0.07%

H2O: 0.03%

neon, krypton, xenon, ozone, methane: Trace

Then this means that there shouldnt be any flash explosions from the drilling process. What about possible underground gas pockets though. If Mars doesn't have any underground pockets of these gases then Mars would be like the Moon or an asteroid.[/quote]

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#7 2007-11-03 19:47:08

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,846

Re: Drilling on Mars

I honestly dont think that drilling as a process will be too much of a problem on Mars. To counteract the reduced gravity it just means more tie downs for the initial drilling process. Actually with the meteoric bombardment Mars has suffered it may be possible to use a corkscrew device to gain leverage.

The problem on Mars is not drilling but regolith moving. Most dozers and shovel blades rely on gravity and there mass to give them the bite to get into the ground they are moving. On Mars not only will gravity be less so reducing effectiveness but we will not be able to compensate by using heavier dozer or spade bits.

We will just have to get inventive.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#8 2007-11-09 17:53:04

dryson
Member
From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-16
Posts: 104

Re: Drilling on Mars

Once the drilling has begun the effect of the drill boring through the ground will help to anchor the rig or vehicle. How I know this is true is when I worked on an oil rig we hit a tough spot and the front of the rig started bouncing in the air, this means that the drill bit was bouncing and pulling at the same time.Perhaps a similiar approach to the intial anchoring of the rig could be designed by employing small drills on the stabilizer legs of maybe five feet, these drills would then drill down anchorning the rig.

I was mistaken in the above that the drilling process really doesn't anchor the rig but is a result of the drill bit bouncing off a formation that it hasn't been able to drill through.

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#9 2008-03-18 08:11:04

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Drilling on Mars

I honestly dont think that drilling as a process will be too much of a problem on Mars. To counteract the reduced gravity it just means more tie downs for the initial drilling process. Actually with the meteoric bombardment Mars has suffered it may be possible to use a corkscrew device to gain leverage.

The problem on Mars is not drilling but regolith moving. Most dozers and shovel blades rely on gravity and there mass to give them the bite to get into the ground they are moving. On Mars not only will gravity be less so reducing effectiveness but we will not be able to compensate by using heavier dozer or spade bits.

We will just have to get inventive.

Why can't you make the Dozer heavier?

Massive amounts of regolith might be removable by dropping a heavy metal weight from Orbit or using a thermonuclear device buried under the ground.

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#10 2008-03-18 10:01:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Drilling on Mars

Landing a heavier Dozer on the surface becomes problematic for the system to get it there in one piece without it being damaged from a crash landing.

Of course the solution is to send it down in smaller chucks to be assembled on the surface. Other options for the light weight vehicle construction is to use the Mars regolith as the counter balance to this issue.

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#11 2008-03-20 01:50:29

Gregori
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From: Baile Atha Cliath, Eireann
Registered: 2008-01-13
Posts: 297

Re: Drilling on Mars

Landing a heavier Dozer on the surface becomes problematic for the system to get it there in one piece without it being damaged from a crash landing.

Of course the solution is to send it down in smaller chucks to be assembled on the surface. Other options for the light weight vehicle construction is to use the Mars regolith as the counter balance to this issue.

Thats exactly what I was thinking smile

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#12 2008-03-27 18:21:27

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 2,681

Re: Drilling on Mars

Do we really need to drill? Why? It's unlikely we will need to drill for anything - no oil and water can be acquired from the permafrost in all likelihood.

I favour use of a simple digger with a microwave machine attachment to melt  and loosen the frozen regolith/permafrost.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#13 2008-04-01 05:03:11

idiom
Member
From: New Zealand
Registered: 2004-04-21
Posts: 312

Re: Drilling on Mars

We will need to core. Try sending a geologist anywheres without coring equipment...


Come on to the Future

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#14 2008-04-12 18:40:07

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Drilling on Mars

Since this topic was introduced, the so-called "Caverns of Mars" have been discovered . Lowering robots into them would bypass any need for heavy duty drilling equipment, since the equivalent of picks and shovels would be sufficient to get at the subsurface strata.

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#15 2008-04-13 07:18:36

JoshNH4H
Mod and Martian
From: New York, NY, USA, Earth, Sol
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,193
Website

Re: Drilling on Mars

I honestly dont think that drilling as a process will be too much of a problem on Mars. To counteract the reduced gravity it just means more tie downs for the initial drilling process. Actually with the meteoric bombardment Mars has suffered it may be possible to use a corkscrew device to gain leverage.

The problem on Mars is not drilling but regolith moving. Most dozers and shovel blades rely on gravity and there mass to give them the bite to get into the ground they are moving. On Mars not only will gravity be less so reducing effectiveness but we will not be able to compensate by using heavier dozer or spade bits.

We will just have to get inventive.

Why can't you make the Dozer heavier?

Massive amounts of regolith might be removable by dropping a heavy metal weight from Orbit or using a thermonuclear device buried under the ground.

Why not have some sort of plastic, fillable bubble somewhere on the bulldozer to put regolith on?  It would help with rad. shielding.


-Josh

If you try to talk to me about cold fusion or propellantless drives I will ignore you.
Mod actions in red

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#16 2008-04-13 08:36:00

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,846

Re: Drilling on Mars

The basis of building has always been the movement of ground. And we will have to take a bulldozer or similar vehicle to Mars. It will have to be a dozer come trench digger and have the ability of a back hoe and all of this will take weight.

So all designes will be as light as they can be and I have yet to see a plan that does not involve adding regolith to the dozer to increase its mass and in that way its bite. But there is still the problem of powering it and we will have to have a need for a superpowerful engine without the ability to increase its mass. It will all be a matter of compromise.

Still the reduced gravity and lack of atmosphere do allow for some inventive solutions. If we drill into the ground with a wormlike robot trailing a hose with holes in it then pump in CO2 in a burst we could quickly create either a pipe track or create a a much easier trench layout. And of course creating deep foundation holes for support structures.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#17 2008-04-13 14:13:53

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Drilling on Mars

Why are you ignoring the option provided by the existence of the caverns to avoid brute force surface drilling into the regolith?

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#18 2008-04-13 14:32:52

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,846

Re: Drilling on Mars

Why are you ignoring the option provided by the existence of the caverns to avoid brute force surface drilling into the regolith?

Im not. But as much as we can base ourselves in a cavern there will always still be a need to move earth.

Roads, Railtrack, Berms, Trenches all need regolith shifted. Even the use of caverns will mean clearing them out and building up the entrance for us.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#19 2008-04-13 20:15:27

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Drilling on Mars

That's right: by using pick and shovel equivalents to tunnel horizontally.

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#20 2008-04-14 03:37:42

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,846

Re: Drilling on Mars

That's right: by using pick and shovel equivalents to tunnel horizontally.

Dicktice it is unfortunately true that those two techniques rely so much on the Earths ambient gravity. Conditions on other planets dictate that we have to look at other approaches.

When we where on the Moon we found that the upper layer of Regolith was powdered and easily moved. It was roughly about a foot deep of this easy to move substance. Below that though was a compacted strata which when the Astronauts attempted to dig into literally had them flipping over there shovels or being bounced away. This shows the point that in reduced gravity the use of shovels which rely on weight being used against them are much less effective. Picks also rely on weight but much less so as there mass is still there even when swung and as long as the astronaut can balance himself properly it could well be an effective technique.

Mars may be a lot harder to dig into. We have an increased gravity true but if water is present, as we hope, then the likely state it will be found as will be permafrost. This literally means that we will have similar to the Moon a strata of loose regolith followed by a layer of compacted but in this case frozen solid material. Even on Earth this is very very hard to shift and we often use hosed water to try to get this to seperate.

There is another point to Lava tubes they tend to be under the surface and accessing them is often from rilles or holes in the ceilings. We will still need to have items built on the surface even if we find Lavatubes to put bases in and it is how do we operate and expand on the surface that require construction techniques. An example of heavy Earth moving is the building of any dome or greenhouse.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#21 2008-04-16 07:09:33

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Drilling on Mars

Well, tunnelling (including blasting) at least would require less hardware to take along than drilling....

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#22 2011-12-05 23:00:02

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,712
Website

Re: Drilling on Mars

The drilling problem must be solved somehow.  They did little hand cores a few centimeters deep standing on the moon.  It has to be possible.  It may be an art that needs to be learned that is peculiar to Mars,  I dunno. 

But deep drilling is the only reliable way to learn what is really underfoot,  same as here on Earth.  Without it you cannot truly explore:  answer the two deceptively-simple questions (1) what all is there?  (2) where exactly is it?  To do less than answer those is but a negligible step beyond flag-and-footprints.  What's the point of that? 

We never really explored the moon,  because we never really even tried to answer those two questions until recently. 

GW Johnson


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#23 2011-12-06 22:41:09

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Drilling on Mars

Welcome back GW Jonhson....

Last updated - July 22, 2002
JPL's NDEAA Ultrasonic/Sonic Driller/Corer (USDC) Homepage
http://ndeaa.jpl.nasa.gov/nasa-nde/usdc/usdc.htm

09.28.04
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/prepar … drill.html
Drilling Automation for Mars Exploration (DAME) Project


Drilling on the Moon and Mars Experiment (DOMEX), in collaboration with EuroGeoMars
Drilling on the Moon and Mars: Human Exploration Simulation Experiments

Another drilling method
http://www.physorg.com/news195205359.html

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#24 2011-12-16 10:45:40

hjs
Member
From: Europe, Germany, Bavaria, Muni
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 15

Re: Drilling on Mars

how is drilling to be done by the MSL?

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#25 2011-12-16 15:26:43

JonClarke
Member
From: Canberra, Australia
Registered: 2005-07-08
Posts: 173

Re: Drilling on Mars

hjs wrote:

how is drilling to be done by the MSL?

Rotary, hollow stem auger.

This is the preferred method of drilling off Earth to date.  To date we have drilled on the Moon (manned and unmanned) and Venus.  The deepest holes are on the Moon, robotic drills to nearly 2 m, hand held drills to nearly 3.

Which technology you use depends on why you are drilling, what you are drilling, how fast you want to drill, what sort of sample you need and how deep you want to go.

There have been several advanced proptypes for drills capable of raching several metres for use on Mars - MARTE, Icebreaker, for example.

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