Soil Shear Properties Assessment, Resistance, Thermal, and Triboelectric Analysis (SPARTTA) Tool: A New Multitool Instrument for Identifying the Physical Properties of In-situ Soils on Planetary Surfaces.
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
SPARTTA is a low cost, low mass (< 1 kg), and low power (< 5 watt) deployable rover-arm mounted contact instrument that will provide a new capability for measurements of the physical properties of in-situ soils on a planetary surface. SPARTTA is TRL-4 and is able to characterize the mechanical (shear and compressive strength), thermal (conductivity), and electrical (dielectric spectroscopy and triboelectric charging) properties of soils through the integration of five specialized tools into a small, portable instrument, analogous to the Swiss army knife. All of the SPARTTA components are based on classical terrestrial soil analytical tools. Each component will be used to measure a specific physical property of a planetary regolith. SPARTTA will be easily adaptable to a wide range of surface environments for any future planetary robotic surface mission. A key innovation of SPARTTA is its state-of-the–art miniature packaging approach which enables in-situ comprehensive analyses of the physical properties of soils on any planetary body (e.g. asteroids, comets, etc.) with a single compact instrument. SPARTTA will specifically address several high-priority science goals identified in the Decadal Study regarding the physical properties of planetary soils, liquid water/water-ice detection, and electrostatics for bodies as diverse as comets, Trojan asteroids, Mars and the Moon [Planetary Science Decadal Study, 2013]. Additionally, it will provide valuable data to assist engineers in designing landing, drilling, coring, and sample acquisition systems for future Discovery, New Frontiers missions, or flagship landed missions.