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Gecko-Inspired Adhesive Could Lead To Robot That 'Crawls' Across Spaceship Exterior to Make Repairs

Posted By ASC, Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are currently developing a very strong adhesive that leaves no residue. The adhesive is inspired by an extensively studied biological adhesive system: the tiny hair-like structures and physiology that allows geckos to adhere to smooth surfaces and then seamlessly let go. Unlike other adhesives, NASA’s adhesive aims to be repositionable without losing adhesion. This would allow the adhesive to be used in applications such as the feet of robots that need to take many steps in order to complete a task. The adhesive is particularly exciting for use in space where most adhesives do not adhere normally. Grippers developed with the adhesive can withstand 35 pounds of force and function in microgravity. The adhesive has been incorporated into the Lemur 3 climbing robot. The development team commented the goal is that, "We might eventually grab satellites to repair them, service them, and we also could grab space garbage and try to clear it out of the way.”

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