NASA is researching new technologies with space exploration in mind, despite retiring its space shuttle program earlier this year.
In a feature published on their website, NASA scientists have provided some insight into their labs and the experiments currently underway on developing tractor beam technology.
“Laser-based trapping isn’t fanciful or beyond current technological know-how,” according to Paul Stysley, a principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre. Stysley and his team have already identified three different approaches for transporting particles, single molecules, viruses, and fully functioning cells.
Tractor beams have the ability to drag or push matter with a beam of energy, and have featured in popular science fiction for decades.
The new research is focused on “corralling” particles into a laser beam, similar to how dust gets dragged through a tube by a vacuum cleaner.
The team have been able to use this technique to transport objects including cells, and plan to equip future space rovers with the technology to help them collect samples on distant worlds.
Read the full story over at: NASA.