The octopus makes the perfect prototype for a soft robot, capable of tasks ranging from ship inspections to manufacturing assembly. With a $2.1 million grant, researchers are aiming to put the animal’s secrets to work.

Ewen Whitaker, Gerard Kuiper and NASA engineer Ray Heacock

In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade, lunar and planetary science was still in its infancy. Its birthplace? The University of Arizona.

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