US space agency NASA is willing to throw some cash towards the direction of folks who are interested in performing a study on “tractor beams” which in the future, will be able to see action to gather samples for analysis in future missions. The amount of money is not much though – we are looking at just $100,000, but it ought to be enough to advance a trio of laser-based approaches to perform what had always remained in the realm of science fiction.
So far, a bunch of tractor-beam ideas have already been published in the scientific literature, although none of them have seen action just yet. NASA scientist Paul Stysley claims that the approach could “enhance science goals and reduce mission risk. Though a mainstay in science fiction, and Star Trek in particular, laser-based trapping isn’t fanciful or beyond current technological know-how.”
Well good luck to the men in lab suits – I am quite sure that the average consumer would also find tractor beams useful, in particular retrieving that remote control from the opposite couch in your living room when you want to live out the sedentary lifestyle.
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