Tokyo - Bridgestone Corp. is taking part in an international space exploration mission together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corp., the tire & rubber company said 11 April.
As announced in March by JAXA and Toyota, the mission aims to “expand the domain of human activity and develop intellectual property on space exploration.”
As part of the joint programme, Bridgestone will study the performance needs of tires for manned, pressurised rovers to improve their contact with the surface of the moon.
The tire maker intends to develop “an elastic wheel” to support the rover’s weight, acceleration and braking while improving shock absorption and manoeuvrability.
Powered by the Bridgestone wheels, the rover is missioned to cruise more than 10,000 km on the lunar surface.
“Our technical capabilities allow us to explore the development of a tire that is capable of functioning even in the harshest of conditions experienced on the surface of the moon,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer, Bridgestone Americas.
The study will build on a joint research partnership between Bridgestone and JAXA in the 2000s which examined the contact patch between rovers and the lunar surface.