NASA commissioned Michelin to manufacture tires to explore the Moon By AMEXI

NASA commissioned Michelin to manufacture tires to explore the Moon By AMEXI
NASA commissioned Michelin to manufacture tires to explore the Moon By AMEXI

AMEXI – Mexico City, June 17 (AMEXI).- Michelin (EPA:) is in the process of developing an airless tire for the rover, NASA’s Project Artemis rover, which will have to operate on the moon for a decade, transport two astronauts, explore remote areas and take samples in a lunar region where without exploring by humans and looking for water in the form of ice.

Among manned missions, the vehicle is expected to travel to different landing sites under its own power and operate independently, a big jump compared to NASA’s Apollo work during the period from 1961 to 1972.

“During 135 missions between 1995 and 2007, NASA entrusted Michelin with the design and production of tires for its space shuttle,” explains Christophe Moriceau, director of Advanced Research at Michelin.

“Since then, we have conducted research for a variety of lunar rovers and, in 2021, we entered into a new collaboration with the Intuitive Machines design team and their partners: Northrop Grumman (NYSE:), Boeing (NYSE:) and AVL to develop tires for the Artemis lunar rover. “This is how we got involved in the program after responding to a tender launched by NASA.”

The tire will have to face extreme conditions once on the moon as the ainheritance that With gravity equivalent to one-sixth that of Earth, the moon presents a unique challenge because it can be quite difficult to climb sandy slopes on Earth, but it is even more complex on the moon, where the rover will face inclinations of up to 20 degrees on loose and virgin ground.

This will require specific, durable tires that provide grip on a wide range of surfaces, aided by having the largest contact surface possible, in the same way we use snowshoes, although less flexible, to distribute our weight when walking on the ground. snow.

Another challenge for Michelin is theabsence of atmosphere so UV rays levels are much higher and materials age much faster.

In addition, they will have to resist electromagnetic radiation. These phenomena will impact the performance of the vehicle and its tires, so it is vital to address them with in-depth work on the materials and their tribological properties (friction interaction), and a deep understanding of what is necessary to function in a hostile environment.

There is also baja rolling resistance where The rover will spend much of its time in the shade and therefore will not be able to recharge its batteries frequently using its solar panels. As a result, the materials and design conceived by Michelin must minimize energy needs to preserve the vehicle’s autonomy. The less resistance you have to overcome when moving forward, resistance caused directly by your tires, the less energy it will require to do so.

Corrosion resistance, therefore The sand at the moon’s south pole has been subjected to very little erosion, meaning it can be very aggressive and abrasive to surfaces that come into contact with it.

To function reliably over 10 thousand km or 10 years, and in addition to their off-road capabilities in sand, rocks and craters, the vehicle’s tires must be made of especially resistant materials capable of maintaining their properties regardless of the conditions.

As for the clime Scientists expect to find water in the form of ice at temperatures that can drop to almost minus 250 degrees Celsius, but rise to 100 degrees Celsius in some places. This variation does not exist on Earth and only exceptional materials, through their composition and deformation capacity, will be able to survive.

In addition to allowing the company to explore new forms of mobility and applications for a better future, Michelin’s unique experience is cementing its place at the forefront, not only in motorsport and on ordinary roads, but also, why not? – In the space!

The entry NASA commissioned Michelin to manufacture tires to explore the Moon was first published in Amexi.

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