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Artist's conception of a future space probe using a tractor beam to gather samples of material from an asteroid. Credit: NASA

If you are a Star Trek fan, you will of course be familiar with “tractor beams,” those cool-looking laser beams that can grab an object in space and it pull backwards toward the source of the beam (including trapping spacecraft as evil aliens would often do). They are another long-running staple of science fiction that is now closer to science reality. NASA isnow working on developing just such technology, which would help primarily in obtaining material samples in real-life space missions, such as on Mars or an asteroid or comet…

See Universe Today for the full article.