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The Pull of the Tractor Beam

Stephen R. Wilk

This science-fiction staple has remarkably little science behind it—but that may be changing, at least on the micro scale.

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When he died in 1905, Jules Verne left behind several unpublished stories that his son, Michel, subsequently edited and put into print. One was The Hunt for the Meteor (La Chasse au Météore), which was published in 1908. Verne’s original story, inspired by his own novel Hector Servadac (translated as Off on a Comet), described the fall of a gold meteor and its unexpected effects on human society. According to the science of the time, the premise was plausible, if not very probable.

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Publish Date: 01 November 2009


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