Bridgestone Corporation is developing tire technology for an international space exploration mission, an initiative with aims including expanding the domain of human activity and developing intellectual property on space exploration. Bridgestone will work as a technical partner with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota), researching the performance needs of tires for use on manned, pressurized rovers and improving their contact with the surface of the moon.
The project builds on a joint research partnership with JAXA in the 2000s that examined the tire contact patch with the lunar surface. Bridgestone’s proposal for the new project is an ‘Elastic Wheel’ that supports the rover’s weight, acceleration and braking, minimizes shock, and improves maneuverability, enabling the rover to travel more than 6,000 miles (10,000km) on the lunar surface, as required by the mission.
Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer at Bridgestone Americas stated, “We believe that 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, and bring us to a higher level of mobility for mankind. Our founder, Shojiro Ishibashi, believed in contributing to the advancement and development of society, and Bridgestone fulfils that belief through Creative Pioneering (Shinshu-Dokuso), an integral part of our corporate philosophy that allows the company to develop innovative solutions with an eye towards the future.”