The year is 2017 and NASA have just reinvented the wheel. Glenn Research engineers have just unveiled a new super-elastic tire constructed from nickel titanium, a shape memory alloy able to flex, conform, and then return to its original shape even after traversing the most punishing of terrains. This exciting new tire comes in anticipation of the Mars 2020 launch/expedition. This new tire is an evolution of the original Spring tire which was used on the 1971 Lunar Rover, brought to Mars as part of the Apollo 15 mission. The hope with these new tires is that they enable the rovers to explore more significant and larger regions of Mars or the moon for extended periods of time, have the ability to carry heavier payloads, and eventually, quite possibly, be used on manned exploration vehicles that would move at much higher speeds. Now I’m waiting for these wheels to make it to the Offroading Sports Industry!
Designer: NASA & Glenn Research