Flat-Free Tire Honored at the R&D 100 Awards

Back in 2009, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), together with tire maker Goodyear, presented the Spring Tire, a very special piece of rubber meant for traveling on the moon and never succumb to the usual cause of death for tires: puncture.

The tire has now been selected to receive a prize at the 44th Annual R&D 100 Awards ceremony, an event its organizers like to call the “Oscars of Innovation.” Tested back in 2009 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, while fitted onto the Lunar Electric Rover developed by NASA, the tire performed extremely well and opened its doors for “broader exploration and the eventual development and maintenance of planetary outposts.

The special tire features 800 load bearing springs which have been designed to carry much heavier vehicles over much greater distances when compared to the tire used on the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV).

The tire has been designed to withstand the sharp temperature differences in a lunar-like environment and, if punctured, it will not blow out. The puncture would affect only one or a few of the 800 load bearing springs.

 "With the combined requirements of increased load and life, we needed to make a fundamental change to the original moon tire," said Vivake Asnani, principal investigator for the project at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

"What the Goodyear-NASA team developed is an innovative, yet simple network of interwoven springs that does the job.  The tire design seems almost obvious in retrospect, as most good inventions do."

The tire will be on display in Orlando, Florida, at the expo which has been created to go with the awards throughout November.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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