Ultrasonic drill

Geologists and biologists are interested not only in what can be seen on Mars, but also in what lies under the surface. In order to test a technology which could give them access to the subsurface, Bridget carries an ultrasonic drill tool.

Drilling into the ground on Earth is quite easy, but on Mars there will be much less gravity and so it is hard to generate the down-force needed to force a drill into the rock. Similarly, rotating a powerful drill while a rover is positioned on soft sand could be dangerous.

An ultrasonic drill tool can pulverise rock through high-frequency vibrations without needing excessive force, so it has the potential to allow exploration deep below the surface where evidence of the past climate, and perhaps life, could lie.