Characterization and first results of the planetary borehole-wall imager — methods to develop for in-situ exploration

Ákos Kereszturi 1 , Ludovic Duvet 2 , Gyula Gróf 3 , Ákos Gyenis 4 , Tamás Gyenis 3 , Zsuzsanna Kapui 5 , Bálint Kovács 2 ,  and Gyula Maros 6
  • 1 Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, , Budapest, Hungary
  • 2 European Space Agency, ESTEC, , Paris, Netherlands
  • 3 Budapest University of Technology and Economics, , Budapest, Hungary
  • 4 , Budapest, Hungary
  • 5 Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, , Budapest, Hungary
  • 6 , Budapest, Hungary

Abstract

Prototypes of borehole-wall imager instruments were developed and tested at a desert riverbed in Morocco and at a lake’s salty flat in the Atacama desert, to support the drilling activity of ExoMars rover. The onsite recorded borehole images contain information on the context that are lost during the sample acquisition. Benefits of the borehole-wall imaging is the easier maximal energy estimation of a fluvial flow, the detailed information on sedimentation and layering, especially the former existence of liquid water and its temporal changes, including paleo-flow direction estimation from grain imbrication direction. Benefits of laboratory analysis of the acquired samples are the better identification of mineral types, determination of the level of maturity of granular sediment, and identification of the smallest, wet weathered grains. Based on the lessons learned during the comparison of field and laboratory results, we demonstrate that recording the borehole-wall with optical instrument during/after drilling on Mars supports the paleo-environment reconstruction with such data that would otherwise be lost during the sample acquisition. Because of the lack of plate tectonism and the low geothermal gradient on Mars, even Ga old sediments provide observable features that are especially important for targeting Mars sample return and later crewed Mars missions.

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