RASC-AL Lunar Wheel Design Challenge Is ON!

NASA wants to reinvent the wheel!

A wheel to be used on vehicles driving around the surface of the moon, that is.

The RASC-AL Lunar Wheel Design Challenge is an engineering competition sponsored by NASA and organized by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA). In this exciting competition, undergraduate and graduate students are invited to create a multi-disciplinary team to build a lunar wheel prototype and demonstrate its capabilities while mounted on a John Deere Gator RSX utility vehicle in field tests at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Rock Yard in July 2013.

NASA and NIA seek innovative and creative engineering ideas for a prototype wheel (tire and rim combination) to be used on NASA's Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). One of the current challenges facing human exploration of the Moon and Mars is developing a wheel that needs little maintenance, can travel at higher speeds needed for human rovers, and can withstand several years of harsh temperature swings, abrasive regolith, intense sun radiation, and lack of an Earth-like atmosphere.

In the Lunar Wheel Design Competition, NASA is challenging university teams to design and build a wheel that will withstand the unforgiving environments experienced on the Moon and Mars. Participating teams are expected to deliver four functioning wheels that can be tested on Earth using an off-road utility vehicle, and present their wheel concept to a design review panel. Presentations will be based on the team's technical paper that details the wheel concept's path-to-flight (how the design can be applied to actual planetary exploration on an SEV).

Based on Project Plans submitted by Sunday, December 16, 2012, up to 8 teams will be selected to participate in the challenge. The Lunar Wheel Steering Committee will review each team's project plan and announce the qualifying teams by January 7, 2013.

SF writers enjoyed working on the challenge of driving around on the moon. Arthur C. Clarke created a solution called "flex-wheels" in his 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Most of them moved on balloon tires, for this smooth, level plain posed no transportation difficulties; but one tanker rolled on the peculiar flex-wheels which had proved one of the best all-purpose ways of getting around on the Moon. A series of flat plates arranged in a circle, each plate independently mounted and sprung, the flex-wheel had many of the advantages of the caterpillar track from which it had evolved. It would adapt its shape and diameter to the terrain over which it was moving, and, unlike a caterpillar track, would continue to function even if a few sections were missing.

Via RASC-AL; thanks to @Lunar_wheel_design for pointing this out.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/26/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer
'...a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air.' - Jack Williamson, 1941.

Mining Of Golden Asteroid Foretold In 1898 Science Fiction
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.' - Ray Cummings, 1930.

Starshade Will Help Space Telescope To Search For Exoplanets
'When it found planetary systems in its field, automatically shifted upon them a higher powered telespectroscope ...' - Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Nobe 3-Wheel Electric Vehicle Parking Like I, Robot
Spidercar, Spidercar, does whatever a spidercar does.

Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer
'...a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air.'

Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!

Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition
'... designed to foil facial recognition systems.'

Mojipic Smart Voice Vehicle Emojis
KITT, what's your response?

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...'

BrainNet Triple Telepathic Gaming Threat
'In the gloomy half-darkness the three idiots sat babbling.'

AVAS Noisemakers Required For EVs By EU
'...a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "[internal combustion]" engine...'

Pun Generation Via Neural Nets
'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...'

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Lightyear One Solar-Powered Electric Car (Design By Heinlein)
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

'Agression Detectors' Don't Work When Spying On Students
'The professional agitators had also learned how to modulate their voices below the danger level...'

Mining Of Golden Asteroid Foretold In 1898 Science Fiction
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'

Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.'

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...'

CNSILK Robotic Spider Builder
'We could certainly spin a web right through the Solar System, if we can think of a good use for one.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.