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Mars Drill
06.03.05
 
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9. Q: How does the Mars Drill compare to other drills on Earth that we use for other things?

Stoker: "Um, the drill uses very low power – runs on less than 100 watts. And, so, it's like you were going to try to drill, you know, a well in your yard with a light bulb power supply. It's that kind of power that it's—that it's consuming. Um, it's a very precision kind of device. And it is obtaining, ah cores of rock. So, this is like cylinders of rock that it pulls out of the ground. Um, if you were going to drill a well in your yard, you would use something that was probably, ah, you know, the fundamental thing about a drill, which is a turning mechanism with a bit on the end, it's gonna be the same. I mean, that's ultimately what you would use to get a hole in the ground. Ah, if you were drilling a well in your yard, you would have -- you would use drilling fluid. You'd use lubrication. And, the lubrication itself is a problem both for the amount of it you'd have to bring with you, if you were going to do this on another planet, and also when you're drilling on the Earth, it tends to be a big source of contamination. So, for any biological drilling – and we've done biological drilling as part of our, ah experiment – um, you have to take enormous precautions to deal with the contamination caused by the drilling fluid. So, not having to use drilling fluid makes your whole drilling process a lot cleaner from the point of view of looking for life. Now, that's really an issue when you're looking for life on Earth because there's life on Earth. And, there's life in abundance at the surface of the Earth. So, when you're looking for life underground, you have to be careful to make sure that what you have found is not life that you basically exported underground from the surface. So, that's a big issue for drilling with drilling fluids on the Earth." (2:00 MINUTES)