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Topic: Bessel Beam

NASA Studying Ways to Make ‘Tractor Beams’ a Reality

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Tractor beams — the ability to trap and move objects using laser light — are the stuff of science fiction, but a team of NASA scientists has won funding to study the concept for remotely capturing planetary or atmospheric particles and delivering them to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft for analysis.

The NASA Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has awarded Principal Investigator Paul Stysley and team members Demetrios Poulios and Barry Coyle at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, $100,000 to study three experimental methods for corralling particles and transporting them via laser light to an instrument — akin to a vacuum using suction to collect and transport dirt to a canister or bag. Once delivered, an instrument would then characterize their composition.

Goddard laser experts (from left to right) Barry Coyle, Paul Stysley, and Demetrios Poulios have won NASA funding to study advanced technologies for collecting extraterrestrial particle samples. (Photo Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Debora McCallum)

Goddard laser experts (from left to right) Barry Coyle, Paul Stysley, and Demetrios Poulios have won NASA funding to study advanced technologies for collecting extraterrestrial particle samples. (Photo Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Debora McCallum)

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