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Driving Cars on the Moon

Rovers,Apollo,Moon
Jamie Carreiro
Eric Collins
July 08, 202006:07 AM

Reinvent The Wheel

Let’s say you’re an automobile engineer asked to design a new car. But you don’t know what the road will be made of, you can’t use rubber tires filled with air, you can’t use gasoline, and the whole thing has to fold up into a tiny compartment barely bigger than a bedroom closet.

That was the challenge facing mechanical engineer Ferenc Pavlics and his team in the 1960s as they tried to invent a wheeled vehicle that could explore the Moon. Before any humans had even touched the lunar surface, these scientists were working out how to drive across it.

You can hear the full story on this episode of the Supercluster Podcast. Supercluster's own Jamie Carreiro and Eric Collins discuss the unlikely tale of how NASA flew three cars to the Moon at the end of the Apollo Program. Listen in as we explore the outlandish engineering solutions that helped make it possible for humans to drive on the strangest, most remote landscape ever visited.

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An artist's concept illustration of the Local Scientific Survey Model (LSSM), one of the design candidates for the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). This design was created by the Bendix Corporation. (courtesy NASA)

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Artist's concept illustration of a dual mode Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) designed by the Bendix Corporation. (courtesy NASA)

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Lunar Rover Wheel Concept (courtesy NASA)

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Lunar Rover Deployment Sequence (courtesy NASA)

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Lunar Rover Deployment (courtesy NASA)

The Details

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Rover Folding Sequence (courtesy NASA)

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Rover Folding Sequence (courtesy NASA)

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Joysticks Big Enough For Space Gloves (courtesy NASA)

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Rover Wheel Concepts (courtesy NASA)

Out Roving on the Moon

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Lunar Rover (courtesy NASA)

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Lunar Rover (courtesy NASA)

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Lunar Rover (courtesy NASA)

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Lunar Rover (courtesy NASA)

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Lunar Rover (courtesy NASA)

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Lunar Rover (courtesy NASA)

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Jamie Carreiro
Eric Collins
July 08, 202006:07 AM