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Venturi unveils its lunar wheel, a world first

The Venturi wheel is a world first (Photo © Venturi)

The Monegasque Group showed off its innovation at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.

Venturi is reinventing the wheel. An invention that may mark a major turning point in the history of the space industry.

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By creating a hyper-deformable lunar wheel, the engineers, chemists and physicists at Venturi Lab have achieved a major breakthrough, similar to when rubber, and later pneumatic tyres were introduced around wheel rims in the 19th century.

Just the thing for the Venturi Astrolab FLEX rover. As a reminder, this spacecraft is currently used for transporting payloads and will be taken to the Moon in 2026 by SpaceX’s Starship rocket.

A wheel for the FLEX rover on the moon

With the exception of the Apollo missions, the vehicles used over the history of space exploration have always been fitted with rigid wheels. The Venturi model is able to deform considerably, while remaining tough and robust.

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As of 2026, when the FLEX rover is put into service at the lunar South Pole, where temperatures range from -90°C to -230°C, the four wheels supporting the 2-tonne mass of the vehicle will absorb the unevenness of the surface, by deforming.

All while travelling at 20 km/hr. The wheel will also have to be able to travel over 1,000 kilometres and withstand the high levels of radiation at the South Pole.

NASA has selected Venturi Astrolab to test and analyse the Venturi wheel at the NASA Glenn Research Centre in Cleveland and the NASA Johnson Space Centre in Houston.

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