0
   

Why NASA's Mars Drill Isn't Working

 
 
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2019 12:34 pm
NASA is trying to drill a hole in Mars to find out whether it is warmer underground.

The drill started bouncing after about a foot of drilling and now they are trying to push on it so it will drill deeper.

Could it be that Mars is a giant iron asteroid covered by a thin layer of rusty dust, but that it's otherwise practically solid iron?

Without the kind of robust energy-absorbing biospheric processes that cause weathering, erosion, and soil-building on Earth, why would Mars have soil that is pliable?

https://www.wjsu.org/post/mole-isnt-digging-mars-nasa-engineers-are-trying-find-out-why
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 157 • Replies: 6
No top replies

 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2019 09:27 am
@livinglava,
drilling almost always needs to have a "driver of the bit" who responds to many opportunities to "fin tune" the response of the whole assembly"
One of the first things that happens when a dill is put on "autopilot" is that the bit precesses and starts rolling around merely widening the hole because the bit needs to respond like a forstner wood bit (in woodwork), to remove a pile of cuttings and allow the hole to present a fresh surface. This is almost a cause /response action, and drillers are really more like a musician always making these fine tunings on the down pressure/moisture/ and drill speed. A drilling fluid also helps to center the bit and removes cutting .

Th problem with drilling on Mars is that I don't think the drill -hole geometry has enough control from a drilling engineer because radio time between the drill and earth is twice the (c) distance for any action to be effective after the recording log shows any deviations. I dont believe its a materials and rock problem (we have the technology to drill through corundum ledges without damaging the rig or the bit).
What does it take at a minimum to get the rig adjusted every time a down hole event needs to be corrected? 40+ minute?? Thats shows we need better and more immediate control from a driller whose on this planet.

Ive been involved in number of autonomous drilling events and they can turn out poorly because no one was on the rig while it was drilling. I think soon, we will be able to develop fine tuning to a much higher degree and I think the drill table needs several gear drive points rather than just "top" drive or "table drive" (Weve done this in water mining holes where drill hole plumbness is ultra critical).
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2019 06:03 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

drilling almost always needs to have a "driver of the bit" who responds to many opportunities to "fin tune" the response of the whole assembly"
One of the first things that happens when a dill is put on "autopilot" is that the bit precesses and starts rolling around merely widening the hole because the bit needs to respond like a forstner wood bit (in woodwork), to remove a pile of cuttings and allow the hole to present a fresh surface. This is almost a cause /response action, and drillers are really more like a musician always making these fine tunings on the down pressure/moisture/ and drill speed. A drilling fluid also helps to center the bit and removes cutting .

Th problem with drilling on Mars is that I don't think the drill -hole geometry has enough control from a drilling engineer because radio time between the drill and earth is twice the (c) distance for any action to be effective after the recording log shows any deviations. I dont believe its a materials and rock problem (we have the technology to drill through corundum ledges without damaging the rig or the bit).
What does it take at a minimum to get the rig adjusted every time a down hole event needs to be corrected? 40+ minute?? Thats shows we need better and more immediate control from a driller whose on this planet.

Ive been involved in number of autonomous drilling events and they can turn out poorly because no one was on the rig while it was drilling. I think soon, we will be able to develop fine tuning to a much higher degree and I think the drill table needs several gear drive points rather than just "top" drive or "table drive" (Weve done this in water mining holes where drill hole plumbness is ultra critical).

You make valid points, but I am still not convinced that the rock the drill is bouncing against isn't super-hardened iron, like that of a meteor.

If you are right, and it is just a question of pushing harder with the drill and modifying the drilling pressure in response to how well the bit is biting into the substrate, then I'm sure some engineers could design a robotic drill that senses 'give' or lack-thereof in the substrate and responds by modifying the pressure in real time. Really, it would just be a question of designing a sensor and writing a complex if-then program that tells the robot to modify the pressure according to the sensor-data.

It takes 13 minutes for a signal to get from Mars to Earth, so it makes more sense to program the robot to do the work autonomously.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2019 07:29 pm
@livinglava,
A "one way" radio ignal to Mars varies between about 4.5 to 21 minutes (baswd on orbital differences). So, to actully affect a signal being taken by the Rover and making a change in its instructions is between 9 minutes and 42 minutes.

I dont think itll go fully autonomous because the NASA and JPL crews dont want to be careless and lose all controls. I think itll be more like a stepwise function where the rig will do a small thing and then wait for validation.
Thats how they were doing the tracking in Gayle Crater.

BTW, Ray Arvidson the team geo llaer at the start was a good surficial strat and seismic guy. He is one of our best bolide expert . He was the one who picked out the potentil drill sites based on what we know about the rock makeup. Muc of it is compact iliceous material with no shallow bolides. If there were any impacts with Fe/Ni or chondritic bolides, these arent anywhere nar the depth that the drilling is intended. The Si matrix stuff has a hardness notmuch higher than 6(They did a lot of early multi-spec analyses and energy dispersive X ray and MS ) So I think were pretty certain of the hardness and the bit resistance. Arvidson was a real stickler. ( i think hes the guy that invented the terms "Meteorites" and "meteorwrongs").

ALL of the stuff(and much much more) that we're now talking about was studied in great boring map and seismic and mineralogic detail in the early days of the MARS field geology and even before in the design phases
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Dec, 2019 03:04 pm
Thanks for your expert analysis Farmerman.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Dec, 2019 05:34 pm
@McGentrix,
well, I looked up some dark web data and I saw they record a"ledge". This is a drillers term for undifferentiated "hard ****". So I may be all wet. Tht the way science often works. It may just be som harder siliiou material (like flint or chalcedony) or it may be a chunk of something harder.

We gotta keep in mind that the drill diameter is rather small.

I still think most of the problem is that the holes are going to be drilled with the smallest amount of graphitic lubricant. Weve used graphite so we arent guilty of becoming an instrument of panspermia on Mars.
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Dec, 2019 09:43 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

BTW, Ray Arvidson the team geo llaer at the start was a good surficial strat and seismic guy. He is one of our best bolide expert . He was the one who picked out the potentil drill sites based on what we know about the rock makeup. Muc of it is compact iliceous material with no shallow bolides. If there were any impacts with Fe/Ni or chondritic bolides, these arent anywhere nar the depth that the drilling is intended. The Si matrix stuff has a hardness notmuch higher than 6(They did a lot of early multi-spec analyses and energy dispersive X ray and MS ) So I think were pretty certain of the hardness and the bit resistance. Arvidson was a real stickler. ( i think hes the guy that invented the terms "Meteorites" and "meteorwrongs").

I think what you are responding to is the assumption that when I say that Mars is essentially a large asteroid and thus would have very solid iron below a shallow layer of rust-dust, that I mean that would only be the case if the bedrock was formed by meteor impacts.

While I suspect that meteor impacts have occurred, I am also considering the fact that soils on Earth sediment over time and are compressed and formed by various bio/geological processes, so we are used to assuming that you can drill down into the ground because our ground has been formed from organic processes that don't render the constituent metals and other elements completely solidified.

Asteroids, on the other hand, are devoid of organic processes and bathed in unfiltered sunlight so the photoelectric activity within them over time must cause their atoms to bond together in a very firmly interwoven lattice, hence the strength/hardness/density of asteroids/meteors.

I am speculating, admittedly, but I don't think it's a ridiculous hypothesis to consider that Mars' surface is a thin layer of rusty-dust, with a much harder iron-ore substrate that has been hardened considerably due to Mars' exposure to high frequency solar radiation and its lack of organic soil-building processes that would break up molecules into loser arrangements.

It sounds like you are more familiar with NASA info about Martian geology than I am, though, so I hope you will reply with some details that speak to my admittedly weakly-grounded hypothesis.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Rover's on Mars - Discussion by edgarblythe
Propeller in Mars image - Discussion by gungasnake
EEEK! BEWARE Martian Spiders!! - Discussion by tsarstepan
Successful New Landing on Mars - Discussion by edgarblythe
Life on Mars - Discussion by gungasnake
NASA's Next Steps in the Journey to Mars - Discussion by OregonFlyBy
LIVELY MARS - Discussion by Setanta
NASA image: clear/obvious pyramid - Discussion by gungasnake
Foundations of Mars - Discussion by gungasnake
Mars bunker and sphinx - Discussion by gungasnake
India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft - Discussion by Brandon9000
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Why NASA's Mars Drill Isn't Working
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 12/13/2019 at 04:00:08