USG Corporation, a world’s leader in building materials and technologies, today announced it has partnered with Honeybee Robotics, a spacecraft technology and robotics company, on the field testing of Honeybee’s Planetary Deep Drill System. The field testing, which will take place at USG’s Plaster City gypsum quarry in Salton Sea, CA, is part of Honeybee’s broader Mars exploration program, which aims to better understand the planet and the capabilities needed to send humans to the planet by the 2030s.
“We are honored to be the only company in our industry to play a role in this innovative endeavor to advance planetary exploration and the broader field of science,” said Dominic Dannessa, Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Technology Officer at USG. “We believe innovation comes from inspired thinking inside our company and outside of it, so sharing our geotechnical expertise with Honeybee was a natural fit.”
USG’s Plaster City gypsum quarry was selected by Honeybee as the ideal site to test the Planetary Deep Drill due to gypsum’s similarity to cryogenic ice observed on Mars, Enceladus, Europa and other planetary bodies. Honeybee will drill 100 feet into the depths of the gypsum quarry, which is significantly deeper than drills previously deployed to Mars were capable of accessing. The field test will assess the functionality of the Planetary Deep Drill and provide data for future improvements and enhancements.
“After two decades of planetary drilling and sampling, we are excited to partner with USG on this new endeavor and begin testing at Plaster City,” said Kris Zacny, Director of the Exploration Technology Group at Honeybee Robotics. “USG’s extensive geotechnical knowledge has served as a key asset to us on this deep drilling project.”
Drilling at Plaster City will take place from mid-November through mid-December. For more information about USG’s participation in this endeavor, visit: www.honeybeerobotics.com/services/space/planetary-exploration/.