NASA researchers learning from gecko grippers, helping inspire new R&D

Thanks, geckos!

Published Aug 22, 2015 10:45 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:04 PM CST

Researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are researching new ways to get things to stick in space, and have found inspiration from geckos.

Unlike tape, which loses its ability to adhere objects together after several uses, geckos have tiny hairs on the bottom of their feet so they are able to easily cling to objects over and over again. Researchers now hope a new material with thin synthetic hairs is able to make the material stick to desired surfaces - even in space.

The new technology has a great advantage over Velcro, a popular solution used in space, as it doesn't leave residue and there is no mating surface required on intended targets. The new gecko-inspired gripping technology is being tested during microgravity tests, including on a 20-pound cube and 250-pound person.

There are so many different uses of this sticky technology: "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," said Aaron Parness, an engineer at the JPL.

NASA researchers learning from gecko grippers, helping inspire new R&D 01 |

An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog,, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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