TopGear goes to the Moon
Posted: 20 May 2010
When the first buggy was unloaded from Apollo 15's Falcon module, things didn't go so smoothly. The front steering system locked, so the astronauts were left with a twitchy, rear-steer machine that had them powersliding. Those Rovers used wire-mesh wheels because air-filled rubber tyres were far too heavy. Despite the drifting, they were grippy and robust and impossible to puncture. For the new Rover, NASA is considering Michelin's ‘tweel' -a combination of a wheel and tyre that uses flexible spokes to act like a squidgy sidewall and support an outer rim. Like the wire mesh, it's impossible to puncture, so the astronauts won't have to stop to change wheels.