Development of a thin section device for space exploration: Rock cutting mechanism

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We have developed a rock cutting mechanism for in situ planetary exploration based on abrasive diamond impregnated wire. Performance characteristics of the rock cutter, including cutting rate on several rock types, cutting surface lifetime, and cut rock surface finish are presented. The rock cutter was developed as part of a broader effort to develop an in situ automated rock thin section (IS-ARTS) instrument. The objective of IS-ARTS was to develop an instrument capable of producing petrographic rock thin sections on a planetary science spacecraft. The rock cutting mechanism may also be useful to other planetary science missions with in situ instruments in which sub-sampling and rock surface preparation are necessary. © 2012 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Advances in Space Research

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