DiSCO (Dual in-situ Spectroscopy and COring) is an innovative arm-mounted instrument for acquiring and analyzing planetary subsurface materials. The instrument extracts 5 × 1 cm cores, and immediately performs in-situ, time-resolved, coregistered imaging and spectroscopic mapping at high resolution – 10 µm and 50 µm, respectively. The significant attribute of our technology is the ability to focus on a specific layer or location on the core surface – something that none of the previous, current, or even future surface missions have capability to do. The Mars Exploration Rovers clearly illustrated the need for such a capability by exposing rock surface and identifying round nodules. Unfortunately, the arm mounted instruments were unable to analyze the nodules themselves, but rather took an ‘average’ of the area.
DiSCO is the first instrument that boasts integrated drilling/coring/caching, imaging, and laser spectroscopic mapping systems. DiSCO integrates a combined fiber-based optical imaging, laser Raman spectroscopy (LRS), laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), and laser-induced native fluorescence (LINF) system into an SBIR-funded, demonstrated drilling and coring platform.
DiSCO delivers three game-changing advantages in lander/rover based planetary exploration: a) unprecedented analytical capabilities – in-situ, coregistered high-resolution imaging and LRS+LIBS+LINF core mapping, b) minimization of the resources and complexity required to perform subsurface science analyses – no need for core processing and delivery systems and robotic arm movement between the rock and an instrument onboard of the rover, and c) possibility for novel mission architectures – coring + analysis + caching capabilities are offered within a single, highly modular arm-mounted instrument.
DiSCO supports the characterization of both surface and subsurface materials, significantly improving instrument measurement capabilities for planetary science missions such as Discovery, New Frontiers, Mars Exploration, and other planetary programs, including: a) landed exploration missions to Venus, Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan, comets, and asteroids; b) sample return missions to Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids, and ISRU.
DiSCO-derived technologies currently being commercialized in the resource development industry both speeds up and expands data analysis capabilities for core logging operations by moving the lab to the borehole and removing the need for coring. Our follow-on commercial application, WireLog, replaces core logging with wireline logging.