Bridgestone Corporation will take part in an international space exploration mission with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota). Announced by JAXA and Toyota, the goals of this mission include expanding the domain of human activity and developing intellectual property on space exploration. Bridgestone’s involvement in this mission will include researching the performance needs of tyres for use on manned, pressurised lunar rovers to help these vehicles make better contact with the surface of the moon.
Bridgestone partnered with the two organisations to research this next phase of human exploration, building on a joint research partnership with JAXA in the 2000s to examine the contact patch between rovers and the lunar surface, and serve as a technical partner for the Toyota rover project.
Bridgestone’s expertise and knowledge of tyre contact patch will help explore the mobility challenges faced on the lunar surface, with the development of an Elastic Wheel to support the rover’s weight, acceleration and braking, minimise shock absorbance, and improve manoeuvrability, enabling the rover to cruise more than 10,000km on the lunar surface, required to accomplish the mission.