NASA on Mission to Develop a Star Trek ‘Tractor Beam’
The Tractor beam is a device which has ability to attract one object to another from a distance. Using Star Trek ‘tractor beam’ one satellite can attract another or drive them apart from each other. This project may still be a few years away from practical use, but scientists from NASA have developed a real tractor beam, like the ones highlighted in the ‘Star Trek’ TV series and movies.
According to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, this technology utilizes a beam of light to attract objects. In “Star Trek,” tractor beams were often used to pull spaceships and other objects closer to the focal point of the light source attached to another ship.
NASA originally considered the idea of tractor beams to solve the problem of space junk that has created a cloud of orbital debris around Earth.
Tractor beam concepts have been experimented with before. In 2011, a NASA-funded study examined how special laser beams might be used to capture and gather sample materials on unmanned, robotic space missions, reported by Space.com.
“Though a backbone in science fiction, and ‘Star Trek’ in specific, laser-based trapping isn’t fanciful or beyond current technological know-how,” Paul Stysley of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said at the time.
And in 2012, New York University physicists David Ruffner and David Grier developed a way to use special lasers, called Bessel beams, to direct light in concentric circles at an object and the beams could then reconstruct themselves on opposite sides of the sphere, making it possible to pull the object back to the source of the beams.