Shape Memory Tyres for Mars

by Blog | 09-12-2017 | 585 views

There is an old saying that states “One must not forget his roots” and that is precisely what NASA has done. There exists no doubt that the Mars rover mission has been an immense success the only drawback that we could possibly speak about is that the rover tyres could not handle the harsh Mars environment. Small rocks on the surface has created large holes on the tyres not to mention the sudden change in temperature from - 200 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit on the same location has also added to the tyres wear and tear. The remedy for this issue was rather simple for the people who could put a rocket on our closest planetary neighbor and that was to reinvent the wheel.

NASA scientists have seemed to gain inspiration from old Knights chainmail armour and have designed the tyres with metal, more specifically the combination of nickel-titanium (NiTi) which has a unique property called ‘shape memory’ which is the character by which a metal or its alloy regains its previous shape even after any structural deformity. The added strength and malleability of metals aids in its durability while the shape memory alloy combined with the rover’s features to be able to commute on all terrain makes it the perfect combination.

These tires probably won't be on the next Mars rover, but could most likely find their way to future crewed exploration vehicles. NASA scientist claims that the tyres could even be useful here on Earth.

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