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Two-Sided Laser Tractor Beam
Compared to the tractor beams used in science-fiction stories, this newly devised tractor beam may not seem a big accomplishment. However, in the realm of reality of existing technology, this is quite a success. Researchers have built a long-distance optical tractor beam that can repel or attract particles one fifth of a millimeter in diameter a distance of up to 20 centimeters. This is about 100 times further than previous experiments.
This new technique only requires a single laser beam and unlike previous designs which relied on photon momentum to impart motion, uses the energy of the laser heating up the particles and the air around them.
"We can move smoothly from one polarization to another and thereby stop the particle or reverse its direction at will," co-researcher, Dr. Hnatovsky said of the level of control they can have using their technique.
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"Intuitive Machines in cooperation with NASA has been selected by the Center for the advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to develop a Terrestrial Return Vehicle (TRV) that will enable on demand, rapid return of experiments from the ISS. Through this commercial service, Intuitive Machines will enable researchers to regularly and quickly return small samples and components from the ISS to Earth. The timely delivery of critical or perishable sample is essential in enabling new and exciting research aboard the ISS National Laboratory. Currently, retrieval and return of experiment results from the ISS are restricted to only a couple of times per year and requires a lengthy upfront planning process. In contrast, the performance of Intuitive Machines' TRV allows for frequent delivery opportunities with same day delivery of samples from ISS to the researcher's laboratory."
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In October in North America, in anticipation of Halloween, it's hard to avoid jack-o-lanterns and spooky images. This year, it seems the sky is joining in the fun, too. Earlier this month, on the same day as the "BLOOD" moon, NASA captured an image of the sun looking very much like a glowing jack-o-lantern.
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