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Full Transcript (below)
10. Q: If you used a drilling rig similar to the one you are developing to drill for life on Mars, would you use a drilling fluid?
Stoker: "The problem with using drilling fluid on Mars isn't so much contamination because presumably there isn't life at the surface that you have to worry about exporting underground, but the issue on Mars is where do you get that drilling fluid from in the first place? Um, you either have to bring it with you, which would be an enormous expense or—you'd have to, ah, make it in situ. So, and that's something that is feasible to make, um, compressed gases out of the martian air and use those as drilling fluid. And I think that that is, ah, certainly something that should be looked into as a possible way to do deep drilling on Mars. The real advantage of drilling fluids have to do with the transport of cuttings. Um, in our system, we're transporting cuttings dry, and we're doing that by auguring them to the surface. It's really flutes on the augur that carry the cuttings. Um, but there's – ah, but that is probably not practical to do a very deep drill with. And our drill is 30 feet – capable of 30 feet depth, but if it were going to be hundreds of feet, you probably wouldn't want to do it that way. " (1:20 MINUTES)