Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 115–127 | Cite as

Considerations on a suction drill for lunar surface drilling and sampling: II. experimental tests in vacuum conditions

  • Jörg Faßwald
  • Norbert I. KömleEmail author
  • Mark S. Bentley
  • Peter Weiss
Research Paper


Drilling devices with the ability to create narrow, but deep, boreholes in a planetary surface are important tools for the exploration of the structure and properties of planetary surface layers. Therefore, they are usually proposed for planetary landers for the Moon, Mars, Venus or small planetary bodies. A method based on the use of a cold gas flow for ejecting debris particles from the borehole has recently been suggested and investigated theoretically (Kömle et al. in Acta Geotech 3:201–214, 2008a). The current paper reports on laboratory experiments designed to validate this method under vacuum or low pressure conditions. Two different sample materials were used: (1) glass beads in the sub-millimeter size range, and (2) the certified lunar analog material JSC-1A, a finely crushed basaltic rock. For both materials, the suction process for removing the particles from a simulated borehole worked well and with a moderate gas consumption.


Drilling and sampling Gas drill Moon Regolith 



This work was supported by the Austrian Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung under its TRP project L317-N14.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörg Faßwald
    • 1
  • Norbert I. Kömle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark S. Bentley
    • 1
  • Peter Weiss
    • 2
  1. 1.Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of SciencesGrazAustria
  2. 2.Departement Ingenierie en Milieux ExtremesCOMEX, Centre d’ Essais HyperbaresMarseilleFrance

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