Date Available


Year of Publication


Document Type





Manufacturing Systems Engineering

First Advisor

I.S. Jawahir


Missions to Mars aim to characterize rock and subsurface soil samples and possibly bring some back to Earth for more thorough and sophisticated examination. The Martian surface is covered with basalt which has high compressive strength (andamp;gt;130 MPa), and is more difficult to drill than the much softer sedimentary formations that are presently being drilled using diamond core drills. The main objective of this thesis work is to provide the requisite groundwork towards the development of improved and sustainable drills for subsurface drilling applications on Mars, when their goals are obtaining samples. Since progressive drill-wear is substantial in sustained drilling, the experiments were designed and conducted to study the tool-wear mechanisms and understand the associated effects on drilling performance in subsurface drilling of basalt. Core drilling experiments are conducted with different drill geometries and cutting conditions in a Martian simulant, basaltic rock; monitoring thrust force, torque and measuring tool-wear for a series of successive depth-increments. Based on the experimental results an optimization model has been developed for maximizing drilling depth with minimum tool-wear. This preliminary work will help the development of smart and sustainable drills for dry drilling applications for future NASA missions to Mars.