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Research Tasks

Gecko Gripper

Gecko Gripper
A close-up view of the gripper on a piece of glass.
Geckos have specialized hairs on their feet called setae that let them stick to vertical surfaces without falling, and their stickiness doesn’t wear off with repeated use. The Gecko Gripper investigation tests a gecko-adhesive gripping device that can stick on command in the harsh environment of space. The technology promises to enable many new capabilities, including robotic crawlers that could walk along spacecraft exteriors; grippers that could use a touch-to-stick method to catch and release objects; and sensor mounts that could work on any surface and be reused multiple times.

Five gecko adhesive grippers are launching to the International Space Station in early 2016, and will be tested by the astronauts to determine their performance in a low gravity environment, and over long periods of time. The JPL team has also provided several accessories so that the astronauts can use the grippers to mount sensors and cameras to the walls of the station after the completion of the experiments.

A video with more details may be seen here.
Point of Contact: Aaron Parness
Sponsored By: Center Innovation Funds