There is a lot of bad news going on right now, and I don’t want to depress myself talking about it. Therefore, Imma write about awesome new potential Star Trek reality thingies instead.
Physicists have made a wee functional tractor beam, y’all. How cool is that shit? Apparently it works via something called Bessel beams. It just so happens that:
“these laser beams are capable of reconstructing themselves on the opposite side of an object. Subsequently, the theory is that these beams can pull an object back towards the stream of light — not unlike a tractor beam. So, in an effort to create this ‘optical conveyor,’ Ruffner and Grier adjusted the periodic intensity of the Bessel beam’s axis so that it could optically trap the micrometer silica sphere. Then, by changing the beam’s relative phase, the trapped object was selectively moved both upstream and downstream along the conveyor. Unlike previous (failed) experiments, they were able to do this by multiple lenses that could slightly bend the beams and cause them to overlap — what caused a strobe effect behind the particle, which provided the required energy to draw the object back towards the source.”
Now, the tractor beam they constructed is too small to do any heavy lifting, Picard style. However, the fact the little one worked shows people such a gadget is within the realm of possibility and gives everyone hope that this could lead to bigger and better tractor beams. One day a tractor beam could be used to pull stuff into place on a moon base. That gives me major nerd wood, that does.
I really hope I live to see the day when we can put phasers on stun and boldly go as a united species rather than one that is trying to rip itself apart. Sure, it seems far fetched, but not long ago the idea of a tractor beam was big ass woo-woo.
Time for a happy dance!