NASA invents new type of tire for Mars and Earth

NASA (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

CLEVELAND (KXAN/CNN) — NASA researchers are trying to solve an age-old problem — how to keep tires from going flat.

It’s something that could be dangerous for drivers on the road, but especially important for the Mars rovers, which can’t get a fix, let alone a tow, if their tires are destroyed by rough terrain. So scientists at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland created a new type of tire. It’s made of woven mesh and can “remember” its shape. If it runs over a sharp rock, it will spring back to its original form.

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The current Mars Curiosity rover has numerous tire issues, and is instructed to avoid small, pointy rocks to prevent further damage. Scientists say they hope to use the new tires on future Mars missions as well as in vehicles here on Earth.

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