Goddard Space Flight Center's Barry Coyle, Paul Stysley, and Demetrios Poulios (L to R) have won NASA funding to study advanced technologies for collecting extraterrestrial particle samples (Image: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Debora McCallum)
Artist's concept of a NASA Mars Exploration Rover on the surface of Mars collecting samples using "tractor beam" technology (Image modified from original supplied by NASA/JPL/Cornell University)
NASA is looking to turn another staple of science fiction to practical use by studying ways to make “tractor beams” a reality. While none of the technologies under the microscope will be able to transport anything the size of a modified YT-1300 Corellian freighter – at least in the short term – the researchers will examine if it is possible to trap and move planetary or atmospheric particles using laser light so they can be delivered to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft for analysis.
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