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January 21 2013

Tractor Beams 'Pull' Tiny Particles Backward

In space opera, it's not uncommon for the hero's ship to be snagged by a tractor beam that pulls him towards the enemy -- think of the famous scene in Star Wars where Darth Vader's Death Star captures Hans Solo's spaceship, the Millennium Falcon in an invisible grasp. Scientists have now made a real tractor beam, that while not capable of snaring spacecraft yet, is able to tug on tiny particles.

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