The Ultrasonic Planetary Core Drill project seeks to build a space-compatible tool that can extract samples of rock from up to 30 cm beneath the surface and then containerise them for caching or return to Earth. This tool will be developed by a consortium led by the University of Glasgow (UK) and supported by Space Systems Finland (Finland), LIDAX (Spain) and Magna Parva (UK).
The University of Glasgow will provide expertise in the field of ultrasonic drilling, which is used to penetrate rock without generating large reaction forces and thus enables deployment of the UPCD from a small lander. Space Systems Finland will provide software that will enable autonomous operations of the device, which will be essential for sample preservation, LIDAX will produce a deployment system to permit highly repeatable operations, and Magna Parva will carry out the vital systems engineering functions.
The focus of the UPCD project will be a field trial in an analogue site, namely the active permafrost of Devon Island, Canada