Ideas that could further exploration in space are coming from a surprising source - animals such as ants, fish and squirrels.
The future of space exploration could lie in biomimetics, where engineering meets biology. In effect, it steals nature's evolutionary tricks to create revolutionary applications.
Engineers like Dr Alex Ellery, head of the Robotics Research Group at the University of Surrey, are trying to find out how natural systems might inspire human-made technology in space.
"One obvious way is in the way nature, in particular plants, package themselves into very small volumes, and yet deploy large structures, like flowers and so on," he told BBC World Service's Discovery programme.
"We can learn about how to package things like spacecraft, and then have them deploy their solar arrays, antennae and so forth.
"The applications are essentially limited only by our own imagination."