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Big Wheels
 

JPL Inflatable Rover Program

JPL's legacy Inflatable Rover Program was focused on two types of inflatable vehicles for transport of instrument payloads on distant planets and moons. One, referred to as "Big Wheels," is a lightweight, motor-controlled vehicle with large balloon tires; the other is a large, wind-blown sphere, referred to as "Tumbleweed."

The use of inflatables to increase speed and range is a possible means to enable robotic outpost development (transporting other rovers to distant sites); transportation of astronauts; and long-distance transfer of heavy equipment or in situ resources, such as water ice from the Martian north pole.

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