NASA is at it again. They made a robot that can walk on walls like Spider Man and they hope that this “Spider Bot” will repair things around the International Space Station (ISS). The guys at NASA are a little rude, though. Making a robot with superpowers just to do the dirty work. But we’re sure he won’t mind. After all, he might be one of the greatest bots ever.
Scientists gained some inspiration from geckos, who have hair on the bottom of their feet and stick to walls for however long they want to. And the sticky part is not a one-time only. They can use it every day, for days on end and it won’t wear off like cheap glue.
Based on the same concept, Aaron Parness and his colleagues created a material with synthetic hairs, shorter than humans’. When these tiny hairs bend, they remain glued to a surface, thus the Spider Man effect is born.
NASA got to use this technology last year, in a microgravity flight test. They used gecko-gripping technology to hold a 100 kilogram person and a 10 kilogram cube and, not surprisingly, everything went according to plan.
That’s not where scientists stopped: new designs known as “astronaut anchors” are also undergoing tests so that they can one day be passed on to astronauts in the ISS. Their purpose would be act as objects to which astronauts could attach their objects, pictures of loved ones and so on.
The Spider Bot is also being tested in microgravity environments. Its official name is Lemur 3 and scientists believe that he could prove quite useful in outer space. Lemur 3 would be an excellent candidate for exterior ship repairs or even inspections. After all, astronauts can use all the help and extra resources they can get up there.
NASA seems quite happy with this new technology and is looking forward to its advantages. There have also been declarations on how it could be used to grab satellites for additional repairs or it could even clear space garbage. It’s already enough that people are throwing things within Earth’s atmosphere, we don’t want them lingering outside of it too.
Photo Credits jpl.nasa.gov