Artists concept for the operation of the drone sampling system near a fumarole.
This task works on the development of an aerial robot to autonomously sample mantle-derived volcanic gasses. On Earth, the isotopic composition of xenon (Xe) in such samples can inform the history of Earth’s mantle. On future missions to Mars, Titan, Io, and Venus, autonomous and targeted gas sampling would enable many science objectives. Our collaboration combines Caltech’s expertise in autonomous drones with JPL’s expertise in sample acquisition, while engaging experienced Earth and planetary scientists for guidance and sample analysis.