(SCI) Tractor Beams, Salvagers and Mining Lasers
Tractor beams, mining lasers and salvagers are common pieces of equipment for capsuleers and other spacefarers. They allow us to efficiently manipulate matter outside of the ships without physical contact. Mechanical manipulators are still used, but are comparitavely limited and prone to all sorts of difficulty.
Even though these three devices differ substantially in application, they are nearly identical in how they do what they do.
The simpliest are tractor beams. All ships have teather-based manipulators that use myomer teathers with simple manipulators on their ends to interact with objects at extremely close range, but objects that are further out can be “tractored” closer using this device. It operates by focusing a graviton column at the target, which pulls it in. More sophisticated systems can pull in objects faster and from further away because they can create a stronger and better attenuated column. This technology is at work in mining lasers and salvagers as well.
Mining lasers create a similar graviton column to a tractor beam, but it is modulated in a way that breaks up targets in a controled manner via micro-occilation of the gravitons. This literally shakes the matter being manipulated apart, Usually in the form of asteroids. Specific crystals can be used to ossilate the beam in a way that will more efficiently vibrate specific materials to the shattering point.
Salvagers are the most sophisticated of the three. Instead of using physical manipulators to remotely deconstruct an object near your ship, it uses a very complex suite of attracting and repelling graviton columns to manipulate objects to push, pull and hold components. The emmiters are similar to those of a tractor beam, but are much smaller and precise. This is more efficient but is currently not as delicate as myomer teathers, and therefore novice pilots find it difficult at first to free their target from wreckage without destroying it.
Tracking the path of advancement in these technologies over the past few decades is a good way of mapping how quickly pure science becomes various applications in New Eden. Capsuleers truly do drive industry.