The D-MEN sampling device - extracting and collecting asteroid material for sample return
Paper presented at the 68th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2017, Adelaide, Australia, 25-29 September 2017
We report about the development and the characteristics of a Device for Material Extraction from Near earth objects (D-MEN). The D-MEN sampling device was developed as part of the NEOShield-2 project and is optimized to collect at least 100 grams of asteroid material including up to 4 cm sized particles. The design drivers are a short static landing scenario and the required capability to not only collect loose particles, but also to extract material from solid surfaces having compressive strengths of up to 50 MPa. This performance is achieved by a combination of fluidizing loose regolith material and extracting solid material by pyrotechnically driven bolt actuators. The D-MEN is a highly integrated system including two bolt actuators, two self-closing material compartments and a pressure pipe system. 3D metal printing technologies have been applied to implement the system in a cylindrical volume of 150 mm diameter by 130 mm high. The performance of the system is demonstrated here by comprehensive tests on different target configurations.