wired wheels

Reinventing the Wheel

Planning a trip to the Moon? Mars? You’re going to need good tires…

Exploration requires mobility. And whether you’re on Earth or as far away as the Moon or Mars, you need good tires to get your vehicle from one place to another. Our decades-long work developing tires for space exploration has led to new game-changing designs and materials. Yes, we’re reinventing the wheel—here’s why.

Wheels on the Moon

Early tire designs were focused on moving hardware and astronauts across the lunar surface. The last NASA vehicle to visit the Moon was the Lunar Roving Vehicle during our Apollo missions. The vehicle used four large flexible wire mesh wheels with stiff inner frames. We used these Apollo era tires as the inspiration for new designs using newer materials and technology to better function on a lunar surface.

Up springs a new idea

During the mid-2000s, we worked with industry partner Goodyear to develop the Spring Tire, an airless compliant tire that consists of several hundred coiled steel wires woven into a flexible mesh, giving the tires the ability to support high loads while also conforming to the terrain. The Spring Tire has been proven to generate very good traction and durability in soft sand and on rocks.

Spring Tires for Mars

A little over a year after the Mars Curiosity Rover landed on Mars, engineers began to notice significant wheel damage in 2013 due to the unexpectedly harsh terrain. That’s when engineers began developing new Spring Tire prototypes to determine if they would be a new and better solution for exploration rovers on Mars.

In order for Spring Tires to go the distance on Martian terrain, new materials were required. Enter nickel titanium, a shape memory alloy with amazing capabilities that allow the tire to deform down to the axle and return to its original shape.

These tires can take a lickin’

After building the shape memory alloy tire, Glenn engineers sent it to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Life Test Facility. It performed impressively on the punishing track.

Why reinvent the wheel? It’s worth it.

New, high performing tires would allow lunar and Mars rovers to explore greater regions of the surface than currently possible. They conform to the terrain and do not sink as much as rigid wheels, allowing them to carry heavier payloads for the same given mass and volume. Also, because they absorb energy from impacts at moderate to high speeds, there is potential for use on crewed exploration vehicles which are expected to move at speeds significantly higher than the current Mars rovers.

Airless tires on Earth

Maybe. Recently, engineers and materials scientists have been testing a spinoff tire version that would work on cars and trucks on Earth. Stay tuned as we continue to push the boundaries on traditional concepts for exploring our world and beyond.  

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.  

do not get mad at pet owners for making small mistakes. don’t say ‘just give your pet away since you can’t take care of them’. as long as the pet owner catches their mistake in time and fixes it timely, it’s okay to make mess up. sometimes prior research doesn’t prepare owners for everything. every pet is different and sometimes what works for previous pets won’t work for a new one. im not saying animal abuse should be excused, but yelling at children for getting a 340 square inch cage instead of a 360 square cage one isn’t the right way to go. as long as the mistake has been caught on time and the animal is fine, it’s okay to live and learn.


Reinventing the wheel: Part 8 Saab 9000 Prometheus, 1992. A prototype which was created under a European "Prometheus" programme (Programme for European Traffic with Highest Efficiency and Unprecedented Safety). The steering wheel was replaced with a centrally mounted joystick. This configuration reduced the risk of body and facial injury in the event of an accident and provided easier airbag installation, as well as improved instrument panel visibility


SyFy Wire summarizes the entire Wheel of Time series in just 5 minutes – or tries to, anyway! We think that’s pretty much an impossible task. What’s your favorite part that they left out? I think mine is the Black Tower and the cleansing of saidin.

Just to show we can

Ok this flu is probably messing with my head. It was supposed to be fun and I wrote a bag full of angst. But it slipped through my fingers and I couldn’t ignore it. Promise I’ll write a smut to compensate. I’m sorry for mistakes and other crazyness, I kinda feel out of myself today.

Warnings: Slight smut, blood, angst

“Why did you stop?“ You cried when Ivar’s delicious cock left you. You tried to grab his ass and pull him back into you but he moved away and sat on the bed, searching for his clothes.

"I heard something.” He said in a suspicious tone, putting his pants on.

“It’s probably just the neighbour’s dog.” You whimpered when he hid his toned chest with his shirt. “Come back to bed.” You tried to tugg his pants but he just waved you away and left the bedroom.

You threw your body back on the mattress, adjusting your dress with a frustrated sigh. It was a bad neighbourhood, for sure. Blocks of old houses, most of them occupied by drug addicted and broke people. You and Ivar didn’t fit into this group. Strange as it seemed, you two used the place as a refuge from the perfect lives you had to stage, from the rivalry between both your families and, of course, a hideout to all the things you used to steal.

You used your elbows to support your upper body when Ivar’s shadow casted in the wall. His figure appeared on the door but, before you could say anything, he covered his own mouth with his index finger, signaling for you to stay quiet.

He rushed quietly inside the room and grabbed you by the hand, forcing you stand up. You started to walk out of the room, making a quick stop for him to pick the backpack that was resting on a chair in the corner. As he dragged you through the corridor, you could hear the noises comming from the living room, it seemed like someone was trying to break the door.

Reaching the end of the hallway, Ivar silently opened the back door and pulled you out with him before closing it again. Then both of you started to run, jumping over the backyard’s fence. You reached the aisles surrounded by wooden planks that separetated the houses, forming a sort of labyrinth, and raced through them, Ivar’s hand holding tighly on yours as you both moved as fast as you could.

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This week we will know what the hospital gowns are all about!

So we will get to see Mac:

  • In a hosptial gown
  • Shirtless wearing handcuffs
  • In a suit

Sounds good to me

MacGyver 2x02 “Roulette Wheel + Wire”