NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory just released a video of their latest adhesion technologies designed for use in space.
The current option, Velcro, requires both a hook and a loop surface, and it can create fiber debris. Scientists have been working on alternatives that can grip any surface. For smooth surface adhesion, they turned to gecko feet, which employ van der Waals force to create attraction. They envision a number of cool applications, and they tested it out on the Vomit Comet, showing that a user can grip and move 100kg of mass in zero gravity.
They have also been developing climbers that can scale rough surfaces like rock or porous walls.
• Gecko Grippers Moving On Up (NASA)