Springtails stick the landing as the world’s tiniest acrobats

With one powerful flick of their tail, aptly-named springtails propel themselves from water to air. Though a close relative of insects, springtails can soar at heights 16 times the length of their body. No larger than a grain of rice, springtails are leaps and bounds ahead of cats when it comes to landing on their feet. Their controlled take-off, landing, and ability to right themselves in midair is unmatched and have caught the attention of scientists. These ancient acrobats may yield key innovations for robots with controlled landing.

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