The science team is currently working on assembling the collection rig, now that most of the manufacturing has been completed.
The purpose of the science team is to acquire a sample from the soil at competition and analyze it for signs of life or other chemical properties.
“The soil system will use a rapidly oscillating linear motor to punch the collection tube into the ground at high force. The benefit of a core sample as opposed to a powder sample is that the stratification of the soil can be observed, which gives additional geological information. The system will have the capacity to collect multiple samples from different sites to perform a more complete study of the area. On-board testing for moisture, temperature, and composition will be conducted for each sample. In order to test for composition, the system will include a thermal infrared spectrometer (TIRS) made in-house to identify the emission spectra for various elements the soil contains and how conducive the soil is to sustaining carbon-based life. After collection and on-board testing, the rover will return to the base station, where team members will perform manual tests on the soil for acidity, microbial life, and more. As of 10/25/2017, the system is in development and prone to change in light of testing and logistics.”