Spiny Finger Grippers for Outer Space

Task Image

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) has been working on a way to grasp onto asteroids to hold on while drilling into them. Ideally, you want some system that can reliably anchor a robot to an uneven surface while simultaneously providing enough downforce in microgravity to allow for sample collection, and this is where the microspines come in.

JPL’s microspine anchors are capable of quickly attaching and detaching from a variety of surface types using an actuator with just one degree of freedom. The anchor provides enough force (on surfaces ranging from vertical to inverted) for a percussion drill operating though the anchor to take core samples, and it’s robust enough to survive over a hundred anchoring sequences with a structure that’s designed to be space-durable


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