Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Self-Inflating Goodyear Moon Radial

The original tires for the Apollo lunar module, with space at a premium in the once-deployable MESA storage bay in the descent stage, were ingeniously filed with only enough atmosphere to inflate them to sufficient pressure in the vacuum of the lunar surface. Now Goodyear is called upon again to design the ultimate radials for similar compact lunar rovers yet to come.

According to DaveDeli Cars and News: The non pneumatic tire featured in the picture above is a prototype model developed by Goodyear for use first on the moon and eventually on Mars. Using the 1960s Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle’s (LRV) wire mesh moon tire as a base, Goodyear has been working with NASA to improve the original design.

The original LRV tire that was woven out of piano wire, worked very well with each tire required to support about (the equivalent of) 60 pounds of weight (everything weighs 6-times less on the moon than on Earth) and be used for a maximum of 75 miles. However, NASA’s new fleet of lunar vehicles will require tires to support about 10 times the weight and last for up to 100 times the distance.

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