Sci-fi inspired tractor beams are real, and could solve a major space junk problem

Sci-fi inspired tractor beams are real, and could solve a major space junk problem

In science fiction films, nothing raises tension quite like the good guys’ spaceship getting caught in an invisible tractor beam that allows the baddies to slowly reel them in. But what was once only a sci-fi staple could soon become a reality. 

Scientists are developing a real-life tractor beam, dubbed an electrostatic tractor. This tractor beam wouldn’t suck in helpless starship pilots, however. Instead, it would use electrostatic attraction to nudge hazardous space junk safely out of Earth orbit.

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