New wheels for off-planet rides

New wheels for off-planet rides
Date:26 April 2011 Tags:, ,

Future robotic missions to the Moon could require heavy vehicles that can range over thousands of kilometres of extraterrestrial landscapes – demands that would overwhelm the wire-mesh wheels used on Apollo-era buggies, none of which travelled more than 35 kilometres. Nasa and Goodyear Tyre recently teamed up to develop a tyre made of 800 independent springs, any of which can fail without compromising the rest of the tyre. Engineers tested the design on Nasa’s Lunar Electric Rover over rocky terrain at Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Goodyear hopes the tough, airless tyres generate interest from fire departments, mine owners and other operators of indispensable wheeled vehicles.

By Alex Hutchinson

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News: To read more about Nasa and Goodyear's energy-efficient airless tyre. [click here]