1973 photo of a Chrysler-built Saturn 1B rocket.
Building cars is a tough, tricky business--but it's not exactly rocket science. Or is it? NASA and Chrysler today announced a three-year partnership to share advanced technologies between the two entities, including materials, robotics, radar, battery systems and more.
Chrysler obviously plans to use the big brains at NASA to help improve their products across the Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Chrysler brands. NASA will also benefit from the technology sharing and development work, with the key area for use being space exploration.
It turns out building vehicles for Earth's environment may just have some crossover to other planets or environments as well. This isn't the first time Chrysler's engineers have paired up with NASA. In 1961, the company built the Redstone rockets that sent the Mercury Project and the first American into space. In 1968, Chrysler built the boosters that powered the first two Apollo capsules into orbit as well, and continued to work with NASA through the early 1970s with the Saturn series rockets (pictured).
Looking toward the side we're likely to see benefits from--NASA and Chrysler cooperating to advance passenger car technologies--we may see more efficient or lightweight vehicles, better hybrid systems, or cars that are much more intelligent about sensing obstacles or potential hazards, as well as parking themselves with more precision and flexibility. Of course, we'll have to see what actually pans out of the deal, but it really can't be as hard to make a car that'll safely park itself in any given space as it is to put a human being on the moon, can it?