Tractor Beams may not just be a thing of sci-fi after all. NASA is finally investing money in the development of Zero Point technology (a tractor beam). As of now they have scrapped together about $100,000 to fund the research... which in the big picture isn't much, but it's a start... Whoooohooo!!!
NASA is funding studies on three specific laser-based technologies. The most well known is the "optical tweezer" method which employs a hollow laser beam to move small objects using air pressure differences. Problem is—it needs an atmosphere in order to work. The Solenoid beam's proven propulsion method pushes objects using intensity peaks that corkscrew around a central beam. Bessel beams, on the other hand, trap and transport objects in a series intensity toughs that resemble a sin wave—though they haven't successfully pulled an object, only pushed.What does this mean...? Well, future astronauts will be able to capture and move objects using only light beams instead of physically connecting with objects in space. This method could replace the cumbersome 'grappling arms' that we use today and in the long run be safer for future missions.