The Challenge | Design by Nature

Design an autonomous free-flyer to inspect a spacecraft for damage from Micro-Meteoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD).


Micro Arthropod Damage Inspector


Nowadays space challenges are getting harder and harder, especially when it comes to deal with the problem of space debris. As known, the detection of damages caused by Micro-Meteoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) on larger and complex orbiting bodies, like the International Space Station (ISS), is not completely feasible through Human Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA) and requires robotic support.

Our concept represents a completely autonomous solution inspired by the behaviour of Salticidae, also known as “Jumping Spiders”: it consists of a six arms crawler capable of flying between some chosen default spots, on the external surface of the spacecraft, where take-off and landing are sufficiently safe. In this way, the crawler can follow pre-computed flygth paths in order to reach the spot which is the closest to the area that has to be inspected. Once arrived, it moves exploiting the NASA’s Gecko Gripper technology and by means of laser sensors it takes all the necessary data, finally coming back to the initial launch point.

The crew has only to select the location of interest and wait for the results to be transmitted while accomplishing freely other activities.

Github Link:
Prezi Presentation:


SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.