Coring experiments with cryogenic water and carbon dioxide ices - toward planetary surface operations

Garry, J.R.C. and Wright, I.P. (2004). Coring experiments with cryogenic water and carbon dioxide ices - toward planetary surface operations. Planetary and Space Science, 52(9) pp. 823–831.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2004.03.003

Abstract

As a prelude to the design of sampling devices able to extract materials from the icy surfaces of comets, outer-planet satellites, and the martian poles, it is necessary to understand some of the physical properties of these ices. To this end we have investigated the mechanical resistance displayed by two ices subjected to coring operations at low temperatures and under vacuum. The ices used in this study were water ice, frozen from liquid water, and carbon dioxide ice grown from its vapour. The coring tool employed had dimensions and required power levels that were comparable to a sample extraction system designed for a present-day spacecraft lander. The specific cutting strength, a parameter that measures the toughness of the material, has been measured while coring these two ices. For water ice this property rose from 25 MJ m−3 at an ice temperature of 250 K, to 60 MJ m−3 at 140 K. At the lower temperature of 140 K, pore-free carbon dioxide ice has also been measured to have a specific cutting strength approximately half that of water ice at the same temperature. These laboratory-based measurements may be used as guides for the power levels needed to core solid water and CO2 ices at certain rates.

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