Michelin Designs New Wheels for NASA's Lunar Rover
Michelin has been working with NASA for over 20 years to provide the highest quality wheels and tires for the various missions that have been carried out. Recently, Michelin has developed a new kind of wheel that may give them another 20 years of working side by side.
The Lunar Wheel we specifically designed with the Lunar Missions is mind. It is very lightweight, while also offering durability that is triple what was tested on the original Apollo Rover. The wheels are also flexible enough to provide constant ground contact, even is loose or rocky soil. Being flexible will also reduce the amount of shock that reaches the delicate equipment.
The Wheel was designed around research done by Clemson University, along with Michelin North American and Michelin Europe. By using a semi-rigid interior structure, the new wheels will provide a much higher and more consistent amount of traction, even at very low temperatures, while also being highly durable in the harsh environment of space.
During the first 2 weeks of November, the new wheels were field tested on the island of Hawai'i. For the testing, they were mounted on the new Scarab Rover that was also in another round of field testing. A final decision from NASA is expected sometime soon.