In pictures: 20 key NASA projects in 2009

From the space shuttle and Mars mission to water on the moon and ice on the Earth, NASA has its hands in a variety of critical projects

The ultimate run-flat tire: NASA and Goodyear this year developed an airless tire to let large, long-range vehicles transport heavy loads across the surface of the moon. The "Spring Tire" has inside 800 load bearing springs and is designed to carry heavier vehicles over greater distances than the wire mesh tire previously used on the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). According to Goodyear, NASA requires tires that can handle vehicles that will weigh 10 times what Apollo required.

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