NASA will parade the Small Pressurized Lunar Rover prototype moon vehicle that runs on specially engineered Michelin wheels during the inauguration of Barack Obama.
The Small Pressurized Lunar Rover prototype will roll on Michelin technology from the US Capitol to the White House as part of celebrations marking the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. The 12-wheel vehicle is driven by two electric motors and can get up to 12.4 mph (20km/h). It is to be piloted by NASA astronauts and will showcase a specially engineered MICHELIN TWEEL.
"Michelin and NASA have a long history of successful collaboration. For more than 20 years, Michelin has supplied tires for the space shuttle. Over the past three years, we have also worked with NASA to develop a revolutionary tyre/wheel assembly for the next generation of lunar rovers," said David Stafford, Chief Operating Officer of Michelin Americas Research Company.
The MICHELIN TWEEL non-pneumatic tyre/wheel assembly was named one of Time magazine's innovations of the year back in 2005. Later NASA funded Michelin's development of the Lunar Wheel which was launched in 2008. The Lunar Wheel can withstand very extreme conditions while it maintains flexibility and constant ground contact. It allows moon vehicles/ rovers to travel over loose soil and lunar craters. It will be shown in public and be viewed by millions for the first time during the inauguration parade.
According to a NASA scientist Dr Rob Ambrose, the Michelin Lunar Wheel "provides a 50 percent improvement in rolling efficiency over loose soil, compared to a traditional inflated tyre."