Drilling on Autopilot

Henry Bortman, Carol Stoker, Astrobiology Magazine

This magazine article features an interview with Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE) scientist Carol Stoker. In this final session of the four-part series, Stoker talks about MARTE's technology objective: developing a fully automated drilling and life-detection system. Her team is drilling into the pyrite subsurface of Spain's Rio Tinto in search for microbes existing in an iron-sulfur-based energy system, similar to that of Mars. She discuses the technical and monetary challenges of developing both the hardware and software for the first ever completely robotic system to do core drilling and sample analysis autonomously. The resource includes images from the Mars rover project, links to related web sites, and an MP3 Audio Machine text-to-speech option.

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Subject: Biology:Ecology:Metabolism, Biology:Astrobiology, Microbiology, Geoscience:Hydrology
Resource Type: Scientific Resources:Overview/Reference Work
Grade Level: Graduate/Professional, College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12)
Extreme Environments: Acidic
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Hydrology/Hydrogeology