The boreal plains northward of the mid-northern latitudes of Mars are believed to contain large quantities of sub-surface ice, in some places thought to be over 90% pure ice. This resource is of interest for future human explorers and settlers of the Red planet. HYDRA (High Yield Dihydrogen monoxide Retrieval Assembly) was a proof-of-concept of a semi-autonomous Mars water production system which used an inner and outer auger assembly to cut through the overburden, followed by mechanical extraction of ice chips and melting / purification at the surface.
The HYDRA test article was selected as a finalist at NASA's 2018 RASC-AL Special Edition Mars Ice Challenge. The team received the Best Technical Paper award.