Bridgestone is designing a tire that’s out of this world.
The corporate has joined a team that features Teledyne, Nissan North America, Sierra Space and Textron that’s developing a Lunar Terrain Vehicle to support NASA’s Artemis program, which goals to return humans to the Moon by 2024 or 2025.
“This partnership helps further solidify the strength of our team and the durable vehicle that can be a product of its collaboration,” Scott Hall, President of Teledyne’s Engineered Systems Segment, said.
“The experience and popularity of Bridgestone is unparalleled and an incredible asset for our vehicle in its journey to and on the moon’s surface.”
Bridgestone began work on a lunar tire concept in 2019 that can be constituted of metal alloys as a substitute of rubber, very like those on the Lunar Roving Vehicles used in the course of the Apollo program.
The airless tires will each avoid flats and be higher capable of handle the cosmic radiation and dramatic temperature swings they are going to endure on the Moon’s surface, which range from below -200 degrees to 250 degrees throughout the day.
The airless tires will each avoid flats and be higher capable of handle the cosmic radiation and dramatic temperature swings they are going to endure on the Moon’s surface.NurPhoto via Getty Images
An idea image of what the tires could appear like has been released showing strands of metal wrapped right into a toroid shape, however the design is preliminary and has not been finalized.
Whatever it finally ends up looking like, Bridgestone won’t be the just one leaving tire marks on the lunar surface.
Goodyear is collaborating with General Motors and Lockheed Martin on competing lunar mobility vehicles they intend to send to the Moon to operate as rentals for any mission that visits our celestial neighbor.
Astronaut Eugene A. Crenan, Mission commander, on the Lunar Roving Vehicle, Apollo 17 mission to the moon in 1972. Universal Images Group via Getty
Goodyear has some experience on this area because it developed the mesh tires used on the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle, but is exploring recent designs this time around.
“Every little thing we learn from making tires for the Moon’s extremely difficult operating environment will help us make higher airless tires on Earth,” Chris Helsel, senior vice chairman, Global Operations and Chief Technology Officer at Goodyear, said in regards to the project.
NASA’s first attempts in August and September to launch the Artemis 1 rocket that can send a crewless capsule to orbit the Moon were scrubbed because of technical issues and the subsequent attempt is currently scheduled for September 27.