Scientific Use of the Sampler, Drill and Distribution Subsystem (SD2)

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R. Armellin et al. (2014), JBIS, 67, pp.426-433

Refcode: 2014.67.426
Keywords: SD2, Rosetta Mission, cometary soil

Rosetta is the third cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency scientific program "Horizon 2000". Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to orbit around a comet nucleus. It was launched in March 2004 and will reach the comet 67P/ChurymovGerasimenko in 2014. A lander (Philae) will be released and land on the comet surface for in-situ investigation. One of the key subsystems of the lander Philae is the Sampler, Drill and Distribution (SD2) subsystem. SD2 provides in-situ operations devoted to soil drilling, samples collection, and their distribution to two evolved gas analyzers (COSAC and PTOLEMY) and one imaging instrument (ÇIVA). Recent studies have proven the existence of a correlation between the drill behavior during perforation and the mechanical characteristics of the cometary soil. This outlines the possibility of using SD2 not only as a tool to support other instruments, but also as a scientific instrument itself. In this paper the possibility of using the drill as a quasi-static penetrator is presented. Within this approach, laboratory tests on glass-foam specimens of different porosity show that the drill behaviour during penetration can be exploited for cometary soil characterization.

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