As NASA continues to push the limits of exploration – specifically on Mars – the need to literally reinvent the wheel became apparent when the wheels on the Mars Curiosity kept breaking down due to the harsh Martian landscape. So, since there’s no shortage of brilliant minds working for NASA, they’ve managed to design “superelastic” tires based on chainmail armor.
In short, this non-pneumatic tire can withstand more deformation and otherworldly abuse than any other option out there. Offering the ability to both traverse across the jagged landscape of Mars and the provide a ton of flexibility, these nickel-titanium alloy tires can deform up to 10 percent without losing their shape. And while these futuristic exploration tires won’t be on the next rover sent to the red planet, we could very well see them both on vehicles equipped to explore our solar system or even right here on our home planet in the near future.