It has often been called the greatest invention in human history because it has defined and redefined the world, the wheel. From cars to bicycles to airplanes they all make use of the wheel to gain movement of some kind. They say that reinventing the wheel is impossible but NASA’s engineers just went ahead and did just that.
The wheel has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a crude hunk of stone that allowed for movement. Rubber has set the standard for the wheel in its modern form whether it be inflatable or thick as a monster truck tire. But NASA’s new wheel is made of nickel-titanium which can mold its shape to adjust to terrain and miraculously return to original form. Inspired by the damage on the wheels on the Mars Rover the engineers sought to create a wheel that will not sustain damage without the need for repair.
“The game-changing material that dramatically advanced the development of spring tires was nickel titanium, a shape memory alloy with amazing capabilities.”
The new wheel technology could see use as early as 2024 and could potentially redefine the world of travel as we know it. Check out this video to see it in motion and what it is capable of in action.