Real Life Tractor Beams to Move Asteroids

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 23, 2008 in Science |

Real Life Tractor Beams to Move Asteroids

Any old time Star Trek fanboy knows that having a good tractor beam is a must have for any starship — and it looks like science is now catching up: Shown above is an artists conception of a gravity tractor spacecraft that could push a dangerous asteroid out of the day:

‘Duck!’ won’t save the day
Scientists explore ways to meet threat of an asteroid strike

“Real-life scientists are actually exploring the gravity tractor, the keyhole problem and other issues surrounding the very real, if remote, danger that a comet or asteroid will some day cross Earth’s orbital path at precisely the wrong time. A crowd of them met this week in Baltimore as part of the “Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 2008” conference sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory.

It’s not an idle concern. On June 30, 1908, astronomers say, a comet exploded over a remote area of Russia with the force of a 10-megaton nuclear bomb. The “Tunguska” impact, as it’s known, flattened 80 million trees over 830 square miles – that’s enough destructive power to devastate a city of millions, had it struck one.”

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