After launching the world’s first rideable hoverboard in October 2014, Arx Pax takes a new step forward with a NASA partnership to turn into reality the famous ‘tractor beam’ many of us only saw in Sci-Fi movies.
Arx Pax is a Silicon Valley tech startup that developed and patented the Magnetic Field Architecture technology, which uses electromagnetic energy to make objects levitate themselves off the ground. The same technology was used in Hendo hoverboard, the world’s first (and real) hoverboard.
But now Arx Pax plans to use magnets to create a ‘tractor beam’ with which micro-satellites can be captured and towed in space. But the beam will not be like most of us imagine it. It will be smaller in size and more discrete.
Arx Pax’s founder Greg Henderson confirmed that his company closed a deal with NASA. He also said that the technology would help the space agency manipulate small objects in orbit without even touching them.
Though it may sound Sci-Fi-ish, it will soon become reality. The technology works as Hendo hoverboard has proven last year. Arx Pax engineers explained that their board is equipped with a small engine that generates a concentrated magnetic field. But the material below the board also produces an identical magnetic field. So the two fields oppose each other making the hoverboard to levitate.
Hendo Hoverboard, however, needs improvement. It can only work on a special copper surface, its batteries do not last long, while the engine is exaggeratedly loud. Nevertheless, the noise may not be a problem in deep space since the sound waves cannot travel in vacuum.
But the hoverboard was clearly just a proof-of-concept that the technology as real and it worked. Its developers seem to have bigger plans for it including floating buildings that can prevent homes from being destroyed by earthquakes, magnetic tractor beams that can manipulate objects in space, and magnetic fields that can pair satellites to one another.
Arx Pax disclosed that it was working on a device that could allow one object to tow another object from a distance. The technology would be first used on CubeSats, miniaturized satellites that have the volume of one liter (or two pints) and are used by NASA and other space agencies to monitor our planet.
Arx PAx explained that CubSats are usually close to one another, so they are perfect vcandidates to test the technology. If the technology is applied successfully, we could have a coordinated team of mini-satellites that can prove useful when studying a whizzing asteroid or a remote planet.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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