Venturi’s hyper-deformable lunar wheel
On Monday 19 June, Venturi Group presented its latest invention at the international Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France: a hyper-deformable lunar wheel. Venturi Lab designed and manufactured the wheel using materials it created. The Venturi wheel is a world first.
A turning point in the history of the space industry, Venturi has reinvented the wheel. Engineers, chemists and physicists at Venturi Lab in Fribourg, Switzerland have created a unique hyper-deformable lunar wheel.
The wheel will be used on Venturi Astrolab’s FLEX rover, a spacecraft that will be deposited on the Moon in 2026 by Space X’s Starship rocket and initially used to transport payloads.
In the past, with the exception of the Apollo missions, space exploration vehicles have always been equipped with rigid wheels. The Venturi wheel, however, is highly malleable while remaining long-lasting and robust.
From 2026, when the FLEX rover is put into service at the lunar south pole, where extreme temperatures (-90 to -230°C) prevail, the four wheels supporting the two-tonne vehicle (payload included) will warp in order to absorb ground irregularities as the FLEX travels at 20 km/h. The wheels will need to perform over at least 1,000 kilometres and resist strong radiation from the south pole.
Features of the Venturi wheel include:
– an exceptional diameter of 930 mm
– a complex system of 192 cables that act as spokes
– a tread made flexible by a newly invented material
– an outer rim equipped with springs
This breakthrough technology, based on unique materials, is equal in importance to the arrival of the rubber, and later pneumatic rimmed tyre in the 19th century.
NASA has selected Venturi Astrolab to test and analyse the Venturi wheel at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.
ABOUT THE VENTURI GROUP
Since 2000, the Venturi Group has specialised in the design and manufacture of high-performance electric vehicles. Whether through world records, expeditions on hostile terrain, the creation of the first electric sports car, the development of innovative vehicles or its involvement in the Formula E World Championship, the Venturi Group embodies and demonstrates all the capabilities of the electric vehicle on 2 or 4 wheels. Since 2021, Venturi Lab is part of the Venturi Group. The company invents, studies, designs and manufactures mobility solutions capable of handling the extreme environmental conditions found on the Moon and Mars. In 2026, Venturi Astrolab’s FLEX rover – for which the Venturi Group will have designed and manufactured innovative technologies resulting from disruptive innovations – will be in operation on the Moon.
ABOUT VENTURI ASTROLAB, INC.
Venturi Astrolab, Inc (Astrolab) is on a mission to advance humanity to the next horizon by designing, building and operating a fleet of versatile rovers for all planetary surface needs. Comprised of a highly specialised team of former NASA, SpaceX and JPL engineers, Astrolab is dedicated to providing adaptive mobility solutions essential to life beyond Earth. The team has leading experience in terrestrial and planetary robotics, electric vehicles, human spaceflight and more. Astrolab’s extensive experience and strategic partnerships with a wide range of world-class institutions, including the electric vehicle pioneer Venturi Group, allow for the most reliable, flexible and cost-effective lunar and Mars mobility offerings. The company’s headquarters are located in Hawthorne, California.