Automated Drilling and Extraction

About the project

Explore the depths of the lunar and Martian surfaces with DREAMS, a cutting-edge drilling system developed by the talented Texas A&M drilling automation team in partnership with NASA Langley! Our fully automated prototype-drilling rig is designed to drill, extract water, and assess subsurface density profiles from simulated lunar and Martian subsurface ice, pushing the boundaries of space exploration.

Method: Tensegrity

The tensegrity rig structure is a lightweight yet sturdy network of bars and strings, with bars taking compression and strings taking tension. The structure is made up of six primary components, contributing to its strength and stability while reducing its weight.

Summary Description

DREAMS is an automated prototype-drilling rig developed by Texas A&M's drilling automation team. The system is designed to drill, extract water, and assess subsurface density profiles from simulated lunar and Martian subsurface ice. The four main components of the DREAMS system are the tensegrity rig structure, the drilling system, the water extracting and heating system, and electronic hardware, controls, and machine algorithms. The system employs an Acme rod, stepper, and rotary motor for vertical and rotational movement control. DREAMS is unique due to its tensegrity structure, its ability to drill much deeper than other systems, and the integration of drilling, heating, and extraction systems in one unit.

Tensegrity Structure
Tensegrity Structure
Key Features

Tensegrity Rig Structure: A lightweight yet sturdy network of bars and strings that reduces the weight of the traditional drilling rig without sacrificing structural integrity.

Deep Drilling: Capable of drilling hundreds or even thousands of meters below the lunar and Martian surfaces, far surpassing other systems in the NASA Rascal-Al competition.

Integrated Systems: Drilling, heating, and extraction systems combined into one unit for simultaneous or individual operation, saving time and cost.


The DREAMS drilling operation is controlled by open loop control algorithms, which utilize a rotary motor to rotate the drill string, bottom hole assembly (BHA), and drill bit. The stepper motor and Acme rod lower the drill bit into the rock and ice samples, while the heating element wrapped around the casing transfers heat to melt the ice

The BHA sensor capsule houses sensors that collect, retrieve, and send data to the top of the rig for further analysis. Designed to protect the sensors from melted water and ensure accurate functionality, the capsule is essential for efficient data collection.

Me and the team!
Me and the team!

Team Members

Mohamed Khaled, Srivignesh Srinivasan, Alkassoum Toure, Muhao Chen, Emily Kincaid, Thomas Lopaz, Luis Rodriguez, Jessica Ezemba, Ayodeji Adeniran, Teresa Valdez, Uthej Vattipalli, Le linh, and Ahmed Madi

Let’s talk?

If you have any questions about my qualifications or would like to discuss further, please don't hesitate to get in touch!