Redwater: Extraction of water from mars’ ice deposits

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Honeybee Robotics has designed, built, and tested a TRL4/5 system known as RedWater, intended to drill into the surface of Mars and melt/extract water from locations identified by the Shallow Subsurface Radar, SHARAD. RedWater combines proven terrestrial technologies to extract water from the subsurface Martian ice. Rodriguez Wells, or RodWells, are a type of water well employed in Antarctica to maintain large pools of liquid water within an ice sheet and pumping water to the surface while heating and recirculating a portion to facilitate continuous well growth. RedWater also repurposes coiled tube drilling technology, which uses a thin-walled metal or composite tube to drive a bottom hole assembly into a borehole; the coiled tube itself is wound onto a drum and deployed by an injector system which transmits the required drilling forces through the tube as it is driven down. The combination of these two technologies with Honeybee’s existing rotary percussive drilling and pneumatic transport technologies make for an efficient means of producing large quantities of liquid water on Mars. Honeybee is currently working on evolving this technology to TRL6 and will be conducting end-to-end TVAC testing in 2022.

Publication Title

Accelerating Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery conference, ASCEND 2021