Only soil samples really reveal a lot about a planet. Are there traces of water? Is there any form of life? Have we even found a second Earth? Space researchers can read all this from the nature of the samples to expand our still narrow cosmological knowledge.
But it is not always easy to drill for samples by robots like the Mars Rover. Surfaces of salt rock and ice are particularly challenging. NASA has therefore tested which materials are best suited as drill heads here. Hardened steels, for example, have the highest density, but also a high weight. Hard materials also become brittle easily and soft materials wear out too quickly. Metallic glasses, i.e. amorphous metals , are best suited for this purpose. They are high-strength, lightweight and extremely corrosion-resistant. Unlike other metals, they can withstand extremely low temperatures. In the study, milling heads made of amorphous metals showed the best properties for the challenges of these space excursions.