首页 > VOA慢速英语 > AS IT IS > [翻译]新闻传真 - 火星古湖泊可能适合微生物生存


[翻译]新闻传真 - 火星古湖泊可能适合微生物生存

来源:慢速英语   时间:2013-12-24 12:19:43

From VOA Learning English this is As It Is.

Hello. I’m Caty Weaver.

Climate researchers have found links between recent periods of extreme weather and the melting of Arctic ice. Their study suggests that very fast warming in the Arctic could be affecting weather across the northern hemisphere. But, critics say there is no proof that this is happening.


“The jury’s still out on whether Arctic sea ice is influencing weather extremes.”


But first, we go back to Mars…


Earlier this year, scientists announced they had found evidence that there was once water on Mars, and that that water might have permitted life on the red planet. Now, we have an update on the story: iron and sulfur minerals found at the bottom of the ancient, dried-up lake suggest an even more likely environment for life.


“In principle you would have microbes that could eat the rocks. And that is very common on Earth.”


Life on Mars, and climate changes on Earth: today, on As It Is.

Ancient Martian Lake Might Have Supported Life


Meaningful minerals have been found in an ancient, former lake on Mars. Scientists say the finding is the best evidence yet that conditions were right for life on the red planet.


Christopher Cruise reports.

Earlier this year, scientists reported evidence of water on Mars that could have made life possible.


Now there is new evidence from the Mars information-gathering vehicle called Curiosity. It has found iron and sulfur minerals in different chemical states at the bottom of a former lake.


The different chemical states suggest that electrons could move around in that environment. Scott McLennan is a professor of geoscience at Stony Brook University. He says this is an important discovery.

不同化学状态意味着电子可以在这种环境中移动。Scott McLennan 是石溪大学地球科学教授。他说,这是个重要的发现。

“If you can move electrons around you have basically got food.”


Professor McLennan is part of the Mars rover team that made the discovery.

McLennan 教授是取得这项发现的火星探测团队的一员。

“In principle, you would have microbes that could eat the rocks and eat the minerals. And that is very common on Earth. They are primitive life forms but they are very, very well-known and very well-characterized.”


Such life forms are found in caves and deep-sea thermal vents on Earth. These are places that do not get the sunlight that is the root of all life on our planet’s surface.


Hap McSween is a planetary scientist. He says a recent series of papers have claimed there could be life on Mars, but he says this is the first time he has been convinced of it.

Hap McSween 是位行星科学家。他说,近期的一系列文章都声称火星可能存在过生命,但他表示,这是他第一次感到确信。

Professor McSween is with the University of Tennessee. He was not involved in the new study. He says it is not the first time researchers have found water or important minerals on Mars.

McSween 教授在田纳西大学工作。他没有参与这项新研究。他说,这不是研究人员第一次发现火星上有水或矿物的证据。

“But never the whole package.  And this place really does seem to have the whole package.”


The materials were gathered near the landing place of Curiosity. The area appears to have been a lake about four billion years ago -- more recently than scientists once thought. Professor McSween notes that was around the time life was appearing on Earth.

这些材料是在好奇号登陆位置的附近采集的。该区域似乎是 40 亿年前的一个湖泊——比科学家曾认为的要更年轻。McSween 教授指出,这和地球上出现生命的时间接近。

“It could be that the two planets had emerging but very, very simplified life at the same time. But we are a long way from figuring out that this interesting lake deposit actually has any evidence of life.”


The Mars rover is not able to look for fossil microbes that would answer the question about whether there was once life on Mars. Professor McLennan says material would have to be transported to Earth for study.

火星探测器没有找到能够回答火星上是否曾存在生命的微生物化石。McLennan 教授说,这些材料会被运回地球进行研究。

Now, Curiosity is headed to Mt. Sharp -- a rock formation five kilometers tall. Professor McLennan says Mt. Sharp was the rover’s target from the beginning of the mission. The finding of the ancient, possibly life-filled former lake was just a lucky change of plans.

现在,好奇号正前往“夏普山”——5 公里高的一个岩石构造。McLennan 教授说,夏普山才是探测器一开始定下的目标,而这个可能存在过生命的古湖泊只是一个意外发现。

I’m Christopher Cruise.

You are listening to As It Is from VOA Learning English.

Now here is Caty Weaver with some climate science news.

Study Links Arctic Melting and Extreme Weather


Ice at the North Pole is disappearing at a worrying rate. Now scientists say they have found a link between the melting and periods of extreme weather.


Jennifer Francis is a climate scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She says ice around the North Pole has decreased by 50 percent in the past 30 years. But there is more bad news…

Jennifer Francis 是新泽西罗格斯大学的气象学家。她说,北极周围的冰川在过去 30 年减少了 50%。但还有其他坏消息。

“And then if you take into account the thickness as well, we’ve lost almost three-quarters of the volume of the sea ice. So, it’s just an unbelievable amount of change that’s going on the Arctic.”

“如果把厚度也考虑在内,我们则损失了将近 3/4 体积的海冰。因此,北极圈正在进行的变化是难以置信的。”

At the same time, the northern hemisphere has had record-breaking heat waves, extreme dry periods and severe floods.


Scientists are trying to discover if there is a link between the Arctic melting and the severe weather.


Professor Francis and her team looked at 30 years of weather information and measurements of Arctic ice and snow cover in northern lands.

Francis 教授和她的团队研究了过去 30 年的天气信息和北极陆地上冰雪覆盖面积的观测数据。

“What we found was, when there was less ice or less snow in any given year during the summertime, that that was more likely to occur at the same time as the occurrences of heat waves.”


They published their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change.


The researchers say the loss of ice and snow is affecting the high winds called the jet stream. These winds push weather around the northern hemisphere. The jet stream is driven by the difference in temperature between the Arctic and moderate climates. The bigger the difference, the faster the jet stream flows.


“If we warm the Arctic faster then it’s decreasing the temperature difference and causing the jet stream to get weaker.”


A weaker jet stream is wavier, which makes it slower in its movement. So heat waves, cold periods and rainstorms last longer.


But not everyone is persuaded by this information. James Screen is a climate scientist at Britain’s University of Exeter. He says the new study only shows a few areas of the planet where there is a link between sea ice loss and heat waves.

但并非所有人都信服该信息。James Screen 是英国艾克赛特大学气象学家。他说,这项新研究只体现了地球的一小部分,也就是海冰融化和热浪有关联的地方。

“…which implies either that the relationship is quite weak, or actually, it could be interpreted that the relationship doesn’t exist at all.”


Professor Screen says researchers have only just begun to study the effect of Arctic ice on weather.

Screen 教授说,研究人员只是刚刚开始研究北极冰对天气的影响。

“It’s a hot topic but there’s a lot of work to be done. The jury’s still out on whether the Arctic sea ice is influencing weather extremes.”


Experts say it is an important area of research because, they say, with current levels of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere, Arctic ice will continue to melt.


And that’s our program for today. Thanks for joining us.

Remember to listen at the top of the hour for the latest world news on the Voice of America. I’m Caty Weaver.