Bridgestone Develops New Tyre For Lunar Rover

Published On 03-Apr-2024By Anand Priyadarshi

The new concept model of the tire will be displayed at the 39th Space Symposium, the United States' largest space-related symposium, in Colorado Springs in the United States from April 8 to 11, 2024.

  • Bridgestone announced that it developed a new lunar rover tire that achieved improved performance through research and development.
  • The new concept model of the tire will be displayed at the 39th Space Symposium, in Colorado Springs from April 8 to 11, 2024.
  • Bridgestone has fundamentally reevaluated the skeletal structure and utilized its next-generation "Air Free" tire technology, introducing thin metal spokes to withstand the extreme lunar environment.

Bridgestone Develops New Tyre For Lunar Rover

Bridgestone Corporation announced that the company developed a new lunar rover tire that achieved improved performance through research and development. The new concept model of the tire will be displayed at the 39th Space Symposium, the United States' largest space-related symposium, in Colorado Springs in the United States from April 8 to 11, 2024. Bridgestone's exhibit will be located in the Japan's Space Industry booth organized by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Bridgestone has been working on the lunar rover tire development based on the fundamental principle of "tires carry life." Bridgestone, which has understood the roads around the world and supported the evolution of all kinds of mobility on Earth, will support the evolution of the space mobility from the ground up through the challenge for space exploration.

Bridgestone's technology innovation which has supported the evolution of mobility has been refined in extreme conditions such as motorsport activities. Through this project, the company aims to become an essential part of the future of mobility by taking on the challenge of exploring extreme conditions on the moon's surface, which will be a new frontier for humankind.

Bridgestone's lunar rover tire, in its first-generation, incorporates its unique technology inspired by the footpads of camels that traverse deserts. By placing a soft, metal-based felt material on the tread area that contacts with the moon's surface, which is covered with fine sand called regolith, Bridgestone has enhanced the frictional force between the tire and the regolith, resulting in superior traction.

With this technology advanced, its new second-generation tire applied the skeletal structure to meet the harsher demands for durability and traction on the lunar surface that the company discovered through the research and development efforts. For the new structure, the company has utilized technologies which have been accumulated thorough the development of next-generation "Air Free" tire and introduced thin metal spokes and divided the tread segment in the rotational direction to withstand the extreme lunar environment, characterized by rocks, sand, vacuum conditions, and intense temperature fluctuations and radiation exposure.

This innovative structure achieves high level durability and ability to traverse. Furthermore, with the advancement of both real and digital technologies, the company optimized the shape and thickness of the metal spokes using structural simulations. This allows the spokes to flex while minimizing localized strain on the metal spokes, thereby enhancing tire's durability and improving the traction and ability to traverse by increasing the contact area and reducing sinking with divided tread segment.

Bridgestone is supporting the movement of lunar mobility with safety and peace of mind, enabling humankind to pursue the moon from the ground up with these "mastering road contact" technologies.

The lunar rover tire project is an initiative to expand the utilization of "Air Free", which is positioned as an exploratory business in Bridgestone's Mid Term Business Plan (2024-2026), from Earth to space and the lunar surface. In the future, the company aims to apply the technology refined in the extreme lunar environment to tires used on Earth, thereby contributing to further value creation.

Additionally, by demonstrating the company's challenge and pursuit of excellence to its partners through this project, the company is fostering empathy and trust. Bridgestone is also making key connections to expand its network in the space industry and co-creation opportunities with various international partners.

Through this lunar rover tire project, Bridgestone strives to achieve the corporate commitment of "Extension: Committed to nonstop mobility and innovation that keeps people and the world moving ahead" described in its "Bridgestone E8 Commitment."

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