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Goodyear making tyres for future Moon rovers

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company supplied essential products for NASA’s Apollo program, including the Apollo 11 mission which landed on the Moon just over 53 years ago.

The company is now continuing that tradition, focusing on lunar vehicle tyres by joining Lockheed Martin in its development of a lunar mobility vehicle.

Since Apollo, Goodyear continued innovating alongside NASA to advance designs for a lunar vehicle tyre. The team of companies intends to be the first to establish extended-use commercial vehicle operations on the Moon.

Goodyear says it’s drawing from its advanced airless tyre technology used on Earth with micro-mobility, autonomous shuttles and passenger vehicles, to advance lunar mobility and withstand the challenging conditions on the Moon.

Both companies are already applying existing expertise to the project including testing concepts in lunar soil test beds.

“Everything we learn from making tyres for the Moon’s extremely difficult operating environment will help us make better airless tyres on Earth,” said Chris Helsel, senior VP, global operations and CTO at Goodyear

The Apollo lunar rovers were purposely built for just a few days of use on excursions within five miles of their landing sites.

Future missions will need to traverse rugged terrain over much longer distances while operating in greater temperature extremes.

New tyre capabilities will need to be developed for years of durability and even survive the night that sees temperatures of below -156°C and daytime temps of over 120°C.