Hypothesized Surface: Sampling System – MSU


Michigan State University


Copper Class (Fall 2021)


Jack Sikkema, Mechanical Engineering
Suhail Turkistani, Mechanical Engineering
Daniel Blondell, Mechanical Engineering
Ethan Curtiss, Mechanical Engineering
Michael Wichman, Mechanical Engineering


Dr. Ranjan Mukherjee, Professor, College of Engineering, MSU


The NASA Psyche Mission is set to launch in 2022 and arrive at the asteroid in 2026. It is an orbiter mission and will not land on the surface. It is possible to imagine, however, that after learning about Psyche from orbit, there may be scientists and engineers interested in proposing a subsequent mission to actually land on the asteroid.

A computer drawing of the drilling system.

Sample collection drill.

Designing to the range of hypothesized surfaces and terrain that might be found at Psyche (and keeping in mind other constraints such as its gravity), the team designed a sampling system capable of extracting and storing cylindrical cores of the material that is hypothesized to make up the Psyche asteroid. The team designed a drill which would allow for the collection of a hypothesized metallic sample from the Psyche asteroid without compromising the sample. The sample could then be returned to Earth.

This work was created in partial fulfillment of Michigan State University Capstone Course “ME 481”. The work is a result of the Psyche Student Collaborations component of NASA’s Psyche Mission (https://psyche.asu.edu). “Psyche: A Journey to a Metal World” [Contract number NNM16AA09C] is part of the NASA Discovery Program mission to solar system targets. Trade names and trademarks of ASU and NASA are used in this work for identification only. Their usage does not constitute an official endorsement, either expressed or implied, by Arizona State University or National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of ASU or NASA.