Development and testing of subsurface sampling devices for the Beagle 2 lander

L. Richter, P. Coste, V. Gromov, H. Kochan, R. Nadalini, T. C. Ng, S. Pinna, H. E. Richter, Kai Leung Yung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


For planetary landing missions, the capability to acquire samples of soil and rock is of high importance whenever complex analyses (e.g. isotopic studies) on these materials are to be carried out, or when samples are to be returned to Earth. Not only surface samples are of relevance, but in recent concepts at least for Mars landing missions also subsurface samples are required. Subsurface material on Mars is believed to have been protected from the inferred oxidants at the immediate surface while also being protected from the UV influx. Therefore, there is considerable hope that in subsurface soil samples on Mars, at least organic matter delivered by meteorites may be detected, and possibly also relics of earlier simple microbial life on the planet. Likewise, samples from the inside of Martian surface rocks promise to have been protected from weathering and for the same reason they are important for organic chemistry studies. In this paper, an overview is given of the development and science of two different subsurface sampling devices for the Beagle 2 lander of ESA's Mars Express mission, being a "Mole" subsurface soil sampler and a small rock coring and sampling mechanism. Besides their sampling function, both the Mole and the Corer/Grinder will provide data on physical properties of Martian soils and rock, respectively, through the way they interact with the sampled materials. Details of the Mole and Corer/Grinder design are presented, along with results of recent tests with prototypes in the laboratory on physically analogous sample materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-913
Number of pages11
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Beagle 2
  • Lander
  • Mars
  • Rock
  • Sampling device
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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