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[翻译]Science in the News - Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

来源:慢速英语   时间:2015-06-02 08:16:56

Can the sun provide power for a spaceship to travel to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a small satellite. A Delta Vrocket carried the satellite into space earlier this (last) month. The rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

阳光是否能给飞行到太阳系边缘的太空船提供动力?答案可能会来自一颗小卫星。一枚德尔塔五号火箭携带这颗卫星于上个月进入了太空。这枚火箭是从佛罗里达州卡纳维拉尔角空军基地发射的。

The satellite is designed to test the effectiveness of what is called solar sail propulsion. Its large sail will catch solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be an extreme speed.

该卫星的设计目的是测试太阳帆推进技术的有效性。它的大帆会捕获太阳风,并慢慢达到科学家所希望的极限速度。

The satellite is called CubeSat. It is about the size of a loaf of bread. CubeSat was designed by a non-profit group, The Planetary Society. Bill Nye is the chief executive officer of the society. He says the satellite will test whether sunlight can be used as a propulsion force for space travel.

这颗卫星被称之为CubeSat。它大概是一块面包大小。CubeSat是由非营利性组织行星协会设计的。比尔·奈伊(Bill Nye)是该协会的首席执行官。他说,这颗卫星将会测试阳光是否能用于太空旅行的推进动力。

"This may seem incredible at first, but it is nevertheless true that sunlight, or light, has momentumeven though it has no mass. Photonshave no mass but they still impart momentum when they strike an object...it's a tiny, tiny amount of momentum. Nevertheless, if you have a big enough sail, as we call it, and [a bus or spacecraft with] a low enough mass, it will get a push."

“这可能最初让人令人难以置信,但是这确实千真万确,阳光有动量,即使它没有质量。光子没有质量,但是当它们碰撞到物体时仍然会传输动量。这是一种非常微小的动量。不过,如果我们所说的这种帆足够大,而宇宙飞船的质量足够小,它就能获得推力。”

Scientists believe that this method of propulsion will reduce the cost of space exploration for universities and even private individuals.

科学家认为,这种推进方式能够降低各个大学甚至是个人探索太空的费用。

The sail is 32-square meters long. It is made of Mylar, a material that is only one fourth as thick as human hair. Bill Nye says laboratory tests of the sail were successful. But he says testing the sail in space will be critical.

该帆的面积有32平方米。它是由一种厚度只有人类毛发四分之一的聚酯薄膜材料制成的。奈伊表示,这种帆的实验室测试是成功的。但他表示,在太空中测试这种帆将是至关重要的。

"This first time out is a test. The big question, from an engineering standpoint not a physics standpoint, is getting the sails to deploy. This is where everything goes wrong."

“第一次脱离是一个试验。从工程角度而不是从物理角度来看,最大的问题是让帆展开。这是总出错的地方。

The Planetary Society reported that the satellite reached its orbit and that all of its systems appeared healthy. The group says the solar sail can be seen from the earth in the middle of June.

行星协会报告称,该卫星已经进入其轨道,并且所有系统正常。该组织表示,六月中旬可以从地球看到该太阳帆。

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Words in This Story

critical – adj.extremely important

momentum– n. the force that something has when it is moving

photon– n. a tiny particle of light or electromagnetic radiation

propulsion – n. the force that moves something forward; the force that propels something

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