Talk:Tractor beam

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WikiWorld logo.JPG Tractor beam was featured in a WikiWorld cartoon:
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Tractor WikiWorld.png

Tractor Nomenclature[edit]

Tractors pull things. Perhaps derivative of 'traction.' It would be very interesting to learn who coined this term. Questions:

  1. Why the word TRACTOR?
  2. What is the first episode or book or story that uses this term? Kingturtle 15:52, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
"Tractor" was originally short for "attractor". I believe the earliest use was in a story by E. E. Smith, but I could be wrong. SpaceCaptain 23:28, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
- No it was not. "Tractor" and "attractor" both have as root the latin word tractus, which is past participle of trahere, that means pull. Tractor or attractor both mean "that which pulls". Get your facts straight, mister. --143.107.79.66 (talk) 21:09, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

gravity gun[edit]

This is a pitiful merge. No information from the gravity gun page is here, the term gravity gun is not used once here. The usage of the gravity gun doesn't even feature here, as most tractor beams aren't used to fling chairs at your enemy. The gravity gun is an award winning game weapon made possible by new physics engines. It is more notable than most things mentioned on this page. 66.41.66.213 02:01, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

In-Universe Prose?[edit]

While the section is headed "Use in Fiction", the body text is written very much in an in-universe style, for example stating that "Tractor beams are most commonly used in space stations". This should be changed, because they are not: never, in the history of any earthly space station has a tractor beam ever been used - or, for that matter existed. So, they aren't commonly used anywhere, and particularly not on space stations. As a side note, I feel that the elaboration into the function of Treckian tractor beams seem unnecessary. --Dark Green (talk) 15:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Missing reference[edit]

"Two objects being brought together by a tractor beam are usually attracted toward their common center of gravity." Is there a reference for this? I aggree with Dark Green that the whole "Use in Fiction" section needs serious rephrasing, specially to conform to the newly invented so called "tractor beam" in Australia, which deserves a more accurate mention in the article, since it is a real life tractor beam and as such has facts to explain it. --200.158.58.244 (talk) 20:35, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

An adequate reference would be any textbook on Newtonian mechanics. Two bodies coupled will both be subject to forces of equal magnitude and opposing directions, with their respective accelerations being inversely proportional to their masses. They will tend toward their common center of mass, also often called their center of gravity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.223.130.60 (talk) 02:54, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

Repulsor Beam[edit]

Fringe physics and UFOlogy literature have carried topics that could fall under the category of repulsor beam phenomena.Tcisco (talk) 02:50, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

I plan to expand this article with relevant fringe physics research and recognized UFO reports.Tcisco (talk) 16:42, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Proving a negative[edit]

In the section 2000s, the sentence

No other groups have attempted to replicate Podkletnov's gravity impulse generator experiment.

was tagged Citation needed. I have removed the tag.

What citation is possible for such an assertion? Is it reasonable to require one? This very concept is described in the lead paragraph as fringe physics. By definition, "Mainstream scientists typically regard fringe concepts as highly speculative or even strongly refuted" (quoting Fringe physics), and presumably seldom try to replicate the studies. How common is it for someone to research a fringe study, write a paper saying "No one has tried to replicate this work", and (above all) get it published? --Thnidu (talk) 01:19, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Strong magnet[edit]

Why can't it be as easy as a large, very strong magnet? In space, it could attract small spaceships and metallic asteroids. And it could attract other bodies by firing a projectile that attaches itself to any object, and then have the magnetic forces work on that projectile.

For many cases, tractor beams shouldn't even be necessary, said projectiles could have strong ropes attached to them to bring in the object, or something could envelop the object and pull it in that way. 81.71.164.202 (talk) 05:21, 29 May 2011 (UTC)


Here are some reasons:
  • Magnets work only on ferrous metals. The tractor beam, fictional or fringe-scientific, generally works on any type of matter.
  • Magnetic attraction is subject to an inverse square law (Coulomb's law), and falls off awfully fast (as the square of the distance). In sf or interesting fringe science, you want something that will pull or push with a useful force at a useful distance; ideally, something that doesn't fall off with distance.
    Think of a beam of collimated light, which in a vacuum is just as bright at 3,000km as it is at 3 meters. Now think of something that will pull just as strongly at 3,000km as it will at 3m. Not a magnet! A one-tonne magnetic attraction would fall off to 1 gram. Not exactly useful in war.
  • In science fiction: A projectile with a rope attached is a harpoon. Something to "envelop the object and pull it in that way" is a net. Where's the sense of wonder? The writer wants something that doesn't exist in present technology, nothing so mundane as a magnet.
  • In (fringe) science, what's new about a magnet?

--Thnidu (talk) 23:32, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

UFO Sightings?[edit]

What do "UFO sightings" have to do with tractor beams? Tractor beams are only concept so far, and UFOs have nothing to add to the description of the concept. How could they, since they are Unidentified Flying Objects? We don't know what they are or if they are, let alone whether they involve tractor beams, which don't yet exist as far as we know...72.78.8.214 (talk) 02:10, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Is a tractor beam really a device?[edit]

The article begins, "A tractor beam is a device" – but is it? It is a concept from fiction. The article goes on to describe theories and some experiments but the material is technical and relies on unfamiliar jargon which leaves the reader unsure if a "tractor beam" has been created by experiment or if effects that only resemble a tractor beam have been demonstrated.

The article about warp drives begins, "A warp drive is a theoretical superluminal spacecraft propulsion system in many science fiction works." This introduction makes it clear that a warp drive is fiction. If the tractor beam is still only in the realm of fiction, then the first sentence of this article must be rephrased to acknowledge this because, in its present form, it asserts that the tractor beam exists outside of fiction. — O'Dea (talk) 04:52, 23 April 2021 (UTC)