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 ")

Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...' - Doc Smith, 1934.

Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbotís infrared eyes.' - Michael Swanwick, 2002.

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.' - Charles Sheffield, 1979.

 

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

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day.

Ford's Autonomous Cabs 'Transportation As A Service'
'He was glad to crawl into his autocab and close the cover.'

Sex In Driverless Cars?
'...admirable for petting.'

Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...'

ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Augmented and-or Virtual Reality Shoes From Google
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched whatever terrain the goggles showed me...'

Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'

ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'

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.