Hong Kong engineers have developed the first drilling device for collecting rock samples on Mars in 2003, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.
It has been confirmed that the "grinder-corer," developed by engineers of Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a private dentist with expertise in precision tool making, will blast off aboard the European Space Agency's 2003 Mars Express mission, said the leading English-language daily of Hong Kong.
The instrument will be attached to the robotic arm of the mission's Beagle 2 lander and will collect soil and rock samples.
Rocks will have their surface ground away by the 420-gram device, which will then extract material from their core for analysis aboard the Beagle.
The Hong Kong researchers are the only non-European participants on the mission, according to the report.
One of the researchers of the tool Yung Kai-leung said "the important issue of the Beagle 2 mission is that it can extract samples inside rocks for on-site analysis which is far more accurate than the method used by NASA. The physical inspection and on-site analysis of inner rock samples would yield detailed data of unmatched accuracy."
(Xinhua News Agency 09/10/2001)