NASA 'reinvents the wheel' to explore Mars

NASA presented this week a new ally in the exploration of Mars. No ultra-powerful cameras or signal emitters strong enough to communicate between the Red Planet and Earth. It is a special wheel made of nickel-titanium and, according to the US Space Agency, able to minimize traffic damage on uneven Martian soil.

The “reinvention of the wheel, ” as NASA itself called it, resulted in the development of a wheel made of airless nickel-titanium stoichiometric alloy inside. The material exhibits the flexibility of the rubber with the metal resistance and molds to the surface as the vehicle slides over it.

Spring tire

Spring Tire, the wheel invented by NASA to travel on the uneven surface of Mars.

Unlike aluminum, which is also a flexible but easily deformable metal, nickel-titanium stoichiometric alloy has the ability to return to its original shape automatically. Thus, the wheel named Spring Tire "memorizes" the damage suffered and can continue to travel without major difficulties.

The new wheels will equip the next rovers sent by the agency to Mars in the coming years. It is expected to be used already in the equipment that will replace Curiosity, a machine that has been operating on the neighboring planet for some years collecting information. In the future, this material may even be used on vehicles here on Earth.

On the NASA website you can check a timeline of the wheels already developed for this type of mission.