Bridgestone Corporation has announced that it will take part in an international space exploration mission together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation. Recently announced by JAXA and Toyota, the goals of this mission are to expand the domain of human activity and develop intellectual property on space exploration. Bridgestone’s mission assignment is to research the performance needs of tyres for use on manned and pressurised rovers to help them make better contact with the surface of the moon.
Bridgestone has partnered with these organisations to research the next phase of human exploration, building on a joint research partnership with JAXA since the 2000s, examine the contact patch between rovers and the lunar surface and to serve as a technical partner for the Toyota rover project.
“We are honoured to partner with JAXA and Toyota in the challenge of space exploration,” said Nizar Trigui, Chief Technology Officer, Bridgestone Americas, during a recent JAXA session at the 35th Space Symposium. “We believe that our technical capabilities allow us to explore the possibilities of tyre development for the harshest of conditions found on the surface of the moon, and to create a higher level of mobility for mankind.”
The company’s expertise and knowledge of tyre contact patch will help explore the mobility challenges faced on the lunar surface. The development of an Elastic Wheel to support the rover’s weight, acceleration and braking, minimise shock absorbance and improve manoeuvrability enables the rover to cruise more than 10,000 km on the lunar surface.
Through the development of a contact patch, capable of functioning even in the challenging mobility conditions experienced on the surface of the moon, Bridgestone is determined to find solutions that allow the rover to accomplish its mission.