Perspective View of Schrodinger Basin and South Pole (Image courtesy: NASA GSFC)
Amity Space Resource Laboratory
Off-Earth Drilling Technology Development
Lunar water and minerals are a precious space resource that will support human exploration and future trade and commerce. With Chandrayaan-1, India has confirmed a significant presence of water at the Lunar south pole region. Data from Chandrayaan-2 will reveal the global abundance and locations for further analysis. The next missions would require the ability to acquire subsurface samples to characterize the volatiles and identify the locations at the south polar region. Drilling is a crucial piece of technology that would be required to search for signs of life under the surface of Mars and Icy Moons. Our lab is involved in studying the effect of the lunar near-surface and subsurface environment on the performance of drill systems for sample collection and handling systems.
Lunar Drill Development Summer Internship 2020
Students from Amity University Mumbai and IIT Bombay are currently undertaking summer internship with Dr Siddharth Pandey, studying various aspects of lunar drill design and analysis.
Neha Maanju, B Tech 2nd Year, ME, IIT Bombay
Heat flow measurements on the lunar surface give significant insight into the evolution of the Earth-moon system. Neha is working on ways to integrate the heat probe and the drill so that numerous measurements can be taken, availing the mobility of the rover.
Nilay Awasthi, B Tech 3rd Year, ECE, Amity University Mumbai
Drilling in a terrain with varying slope is a critical situation to handle in the real time, in Space Exploration. Nilay is working on developing instrumentation with feedback control system for optimising drilling performance on Lunar Surface.
Sipra Sonali Pradhan, B Tech 2nd Year, ME, IIT Bombay
Sipra is modelling the vapour pressure and the rate of sublimation of ice in the lunar regolith under atmospheric pressure at the lunar poles. This would give us an insight into coring of the lunar sample without letting the ice get sublimated.
Vedanth Sharma, BTech 2nd Year, AE, IIT Bombay
Vedanth is working on the thermal modeling of a lunar drill, preventing issues such as the burning of the drill bit at high-temperature, modification of sampled content, and loss of scientific validity due to the heat generated by the dry drilling process in a high-vacuum environment.
Update: The work was presented at Indian Planetary Science Conference organized by PRL Ahmadabad and Department of Space. Click here to see the presentation.