Apparently, driving on the moon – with or without local human assistance – isn't all that easy. We wouldn't know. Anyway, researchers from McGill University believe they have a new invention that might make traversing the lunar surface a bit more possible, using tires fashioned from a chainmail-like fabric filled with tiny metal particles... sort of like metallic bean bags.

Using such an unearthly combination for these so-called iRings (quick, someone call Steve Jobs!) makes for a somewhat heavy set of wheels with good traction. Just as importantly, these hoops can vary their shape for the various types of terrain a lunar machine is likely to encounter.

A final prototype is reportedly planned for the spring of 2012 in a full-size, manned machine that may or may not ever make it into space. Other potential applications include recovery vehicles for areas stricken by natural disasters. Check out a video of the machine in action here. Oh, and get a load of that seven-slat Jeep-like grille in the prototype – nice detailing!

[Source: McGill Reporter via Engadget]

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