Gesellschaft für Systementwicklung und Instrumentierung mbH

Goals to be achieved

The main goal is the concept and design of the thermal drill and onsite support equipment for the exploration of a subglacial in Antarctica and the research of viable target subglacial lakes all over the globe to enlarge the scope of exploration environments.

Tasks within the project

  • Concept development and design of a thermal drill for to transport the nanoAUV to an terrestrial subglacial lake
  • Development of a sample extractions system for liquid and filtered samples from a subglacial lake on board a thermal drill.
  • Research possible target subglacial lakes for exploration with both the nanoAUV and the thermal drill.
  • Compile of a decontamination concept for both terrestrial and extraterrestrial exploration missions
  • Concept development of combined Raman and Fluorescence spectrometer in cooperation with the University Hohenheim resulting in a system concept and a CAD model.

Preliminary work

  • Development and testing of the maneuverable thermal drill EnEx-IceMole during a prior occupation at the University of Applied Sciences FH Aachen. This included the organization and deployment the exploration of two glaciers in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in West Antarctica. Further the organization of four additional system tests on various glaciers in the Swiss Alps and Island.
  • Development of a miniaturized thermal drill to test the melting process in a vacuum chamber and sublimation conditions, Enex-nExT, during a prior occupation at the University of Applied Sciences FH Aachen.
  • Development and deployment of thermal drill and measurement system for long term ice temperature over depth monitoring in a glacier in the Italian Alps.
  • Development of a handheld light induced fluorescence spectrometer for research on cryoconite holes on glaciers.
  • Development of a UV fluorescence spectrometer to fit within the miniaturized thermal developed in the EnEx-nExT project.
Left: Laboratory set up for the UV fluorescence spectrometer to verify its measurement capabilities and compare it to similar spectrometer; Right: CAD Model of the UV fluorescence spectrometer: Dimensions 55 mm x 55 mm x 100 mm.
Drill operations at Tailor Glacier, Blood Falls 2014, Antarctica with FH Aachen. Credits: D. Heinen
Small thermal drill system up to 100 m to deploy i.e. sensor strings. Borhole diameter 60 mm.

Implementation steps

  • As a basis for the TRIPLE IceCraft thermal drill used to transport the nanoAUV to a subglacial lake, a thermal drill is currently in development with the RTWH Aachen Physics Institute III B. This thermal drill will be deployed on the Ekström ice shelf in the vicinity of the Neumayer III Station in Antarctica in Jan/Feb 2022. The knowledge and experiences will be directly used in the further development of the TRIPLE nanoAUV thermal drill.
  • A breadboard level demonstrator is in development for the sample extraction system. This allows the rabid testing of components for the different types of samples.
  • Researching and collecting subglacial lakes as a possible exploration target while taking both the science and systems test into account and the necessary logistics and time frame for an expedition.