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飞向月球背面:九个问题,快速了解嫦娥四号

  China's goal is to go where no one has gone before: the far side of the moon.

  中国的目标是去一个没有人去过的地方:月球背面。

  The rocket carrying the chang 'e-4 lunar lander lifted off from xichang satellite launch center in southern China at 2:23 a.m. local time Saturday (or noon Friday in the U.S.). Chinese authorities did not broadcast the launch, but an unofficial live broadcast recorded near the site showed the rocket rising from the launch pad until its flames became like a star in the night sky.

  搭载着嫦娥四号登月飞行器的火箭于当地时间周六凌晨2点23分(在美国还是周五中午时分)从中国南部的西昌卫星发射中心升空。中国当局没有播出这次发射,但是在该站点附近录制的非官方直播节目显示火箭从发射台升起,直到它的火焰变得仿佛夜空里的一颗明星。

  Nearly an hour later, China's official news agency xinhua reported that chang 'e-4 had been successfully launched.

  近一个小时后,中国官方通讯社新华社报道嫦娥四号已成功发射。

  Exactly when chang 'e-4 will land at its destination -- possibly in early January -- has not yet been announced, but chang 'e-4 will get its first close-up look at a part of the moon that will never be seen from earth's perspective.

  目前为止,还没有宣布嫦娥四号究竟何时将在目的地着陆——可能是在1月初——但嫦娥4号将首次近距离观察从地球视角内永远看不到的那部分月球。

  What is chang 'e-4?

  嫦娥四号是什么?

  Chang 'e-4 consists of two main parts: a main lander weighing about 2,400 pounds and a 300-pound lunar rover. By comparison, NASA's Mars opportunity rover weighs about 400 pounds, while curiosity, also on Mars, is much larger, weighing 2,000 pounds.

  嫦娥四号主要包括两个部分:重约2400磅的主着陆器和一个300磅的月球探测车。相比之下美国宇航局(NASA)的机遇号火星探测车重约400磅,而同在火星的好奇号探测车要大的多,重达2000磅。

  The spacecraft is largely a replica of chang 'e-3, which landed on the moon in 2013. In fact, chang 'e-4 was built as a backup in case the first attempt failed. With the success of chang 'e-3 -- the first soft landing on the moon since 1976 -- the Chinese equipped chang 'e-4 with different instruments and decided to send it to different locations.

  该航天器很大程度上是嫦娥三号的复制品,后者于2013年降落在月球上。事实上,嫦娥四号是作为备份制造的,以防止第一次尝试失败。随着嫦娥三号的成功——这是自1976年以来首次有航天器在月球上软着陆——中国人给嫦娥四号配置了不同的仪器,并决定将它送到不同的地点。

  Where is chang 'e-4 going?

  嫦娥四号要去哪里?

  The rover will land in the 110-mile-wide VonKarman impact crater. It is on the far side of the moon, which is always away from the earth. (the moon's rotation around the earth is "tidally locked," according to planetary scientists. That is, its own rotation period -- its day -- is the same as the time it takes to orbit the earth.

  月球车将在110英里宽的冯·卡门(VonKármán)撞击坑着陆。它位于永远背离地球的月球背面。(按行星科学家的说法,月亮绕地球的旋转是“潮汐锁定”的。也就是说,它自身的旋转周期——它的一天——与围绕地球轨道一周所需的时间相同。

  The crater is in an area known as the Antarctic @ basin, a large, 1,600-mile-wide crater at the bottom of the moon with different minerals. This may reflect the material produced by the basin formation in the moon's interior.

  撞击坑位于被称为南极-艾特肯盆地(Aitken basin)的区域内,这是一个位于月球底部的巨大撞击坑,宽1600英里,其矿物质与其他地方不同。这可能反映了月球内部受盆地形成的影响而产生的物质。

  For reasons that are not yet understood, the far side of the moon also has considerably more mountains than the front.<-->纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com<-->

  由于一些尚未被理解的原因,月球背面也比正面多了相当多的山。

  What will chang 'e-4 study?

  嫦娥四号将研究什么?

  Equipment on the rover and lander, including cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers, will help identify the composition of rock and soil in the area. China's space agency has cooperated with other countries. One was developed by Germany's Kiel University; Another was provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.

  月球车和着陆器上的配套设备,包括摄像机、探地雷达和光谱仪,将有助于识别该区域的岩石和泥土的成分。中国航天局与其他国家进行了合作。其中一个仪器由德国基尔大学(Kiel University)开发;还有一个由瑞典空间物理研究所(Swedish Institute of Space Physics)提供。

  The instruments will probe the structure of the rock beneath the spacecraft and study the impact of solar winds hitting the moon's surface. Chang 'e-4 will also test its ability to make radio astronomy observations from the far side of the moon without being affected by earth noise and interference.

  这些仪器将探测航天器下方岩石的结构,并研究太阳风撞击月球表面产生的影响。在不受地球噪声和干扰影响的情况下,嫦娥四号还将测试从月球背面进行射电天文观测的能力。

  Chang 'e-4 will also conduct an interesting biological experiment to see if plant seeds germinate and silkworm eggs hatch in the moon's low-gravity environment, xinhua reported.

  据新华社报道,嫦娥四号还将进行一项有趣的生物学实验,看看在月球的低重力环境下,植物种子是否会发芽,蚕卵是否会孵化。

  How does a spacecraft communicate with earth?

  航天器如何与地球沟通?

  China launched the queqiao satellite in May because the moon blocks radio signals from earth. Orbiting high on the far side of the moon, the satellite will carry out communications between earth and the chang 'e-4 lander.

  由于月球挡住了地球发出的无线电波信号,中国于今年5月发射了“鹊桥”卫星。该卫星沿月球较远一侧的高空环绕运行,将承担地球与嫦娥四号着陆器之间的通信任务。

  When will chang 'e-4 land on the moon?

  嫦娥四号将于什么时候在月球着陆?

  China's space agency has yet to announce a landing date, but it is expected to be in the first week of January, when the sun will shine on the far side of the moon.

  中国航天局尚未公布着陆日期,但有预计称将在1月的第一周,届时太阳将照在月球较远一侧,嫦娥四号为太阳能驱动,这一考量很重要。

  Zhang xiaoping, assistant professor at the lunar and planetary science laboratory of the China institute of international space science and Macao university of science and technology, said the spacecraft will follow the chang 'e-3's path. That means it will arrive in three to five days and then orbit the moon for a few days (chang 'e-3 was in orbit for 13 days) while preparing to land.

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

  中国国际空间科学研究所/澳门科技大学月球与行星科学实验室助理教授张小平表示,航天器将依照嫦娥三号的路线行进。这意味着它将于三至五日到达,然后绕月球轨道运行数日(嫦娥三号当时运行了13天),同时做好着陆准备。

  Wait, I thought the far side of the moon was black.

  等等,我以为月球远侧是黑的。

  The far side is not always dark.

  较远一侧并非总是一片漆黑。

  The first new moon of 2019 will be on January 6. You couldn't see the moon because the dark side, the side in the shadow away from the sun, was facing the earth. When the near side of the moon gets dark, the far side is bathed in bright sunlight.

  2019年的第一轮新月在1月6日。那时候你看不见月亮,因为黑的一面,即处于背对太阳的阴影之中的那一面,正对着地球。当月球较近的一侧变黑,较远一侧则沐浴在明亮的阳光下。

  Why is China so secretive about this?

  为什么中国对这些这么保密?

  Chinese officials have talked publicly about chang 'e-4, but their interactions with reporters are more akin to the carefully orchestrated tactics used in the Soviet program during the cold war than to the public propaganda of NASA and many other space agencies. In this way, China, like the Soviet union, can boast of its successes and downplay its failures.

  中国的官员曾公开谈论过嫦娥四号,但他们与记者的互动更像是冷战时期苏联项目中所用的细心安排的策略,而非像美国国家航空航天局(NASA)及许多其它航天机构那种公开宣传的方式。这样一来,中国就和苏联一样,可以夸耀成功,如有失败又可以淡化。

  What does chang 'e mean?

  嫦娥是什么意思?

  In Chinese mythology, chang 'e is the moon goddess. Other operations have been named after chang 'e.

  在中国神话里,嫦娥是月亮女神。其它行动也有以嫦娥命名的。

  Chang 'e-1 and chang 'e-2 entered orbit around the moon, but did not land. Chang 'e-1 was launched in 2007. Chang 'e-2 was later launched in 2010.

  嫦娥一号和二号曾进入轨道绕月运行,但未着陆。嫦娥一号于2007年发射。嫦娥二号随后于2010年发射。

  The next step in China's lunar program is for the chang 'e-5 unmanned spacecraft to land on the moon and bring rock samples back to earth for further study.

  中国月球计划的下一步是让嫦娥五号非载人航天器登月,将岩石样本带回地球进行进一步的研究。

  Chang 'e-5 was supposed to fly to the moon before chang 'e-4, but the launch of a large Chinese rocket to carry it into space has failed, and its journey has been pushed back to later 2019.

  嫦娥五号本应在嫦娥四号之前奔月,但由于运载它到太空的大型中国火箭发射失败,其行程被推至2019年以后。

  What other countries have plans to go to the moon?

  还有哪些国家有登月计划?

  The Indian government plans a mission next year called chandrayaan-2, which will include an orbiter, a lander and a probe. SpaceL, the Israeli company shortlist for the Google lunar X prize, is also still preparing to send an unmanned lander to the moon early next year, even though the $20 million prize has expired.

  印度政府计划于明年进行名为“月船二号”(Chandrayaan-2)的任务,其中包括了轨道器、着陆器和探测器。入围谷歌“月球X奖”的以色列公司SpaceL也仍在准备于明年初发射非载人着陆器到月球,虽然2000万美元奖金已过期。

  Last week, NASA announced that nine companies would compete for an unmanned mission to carry scientific experiments to the moon. The space agency says the first of these operations could begin as early as 2019, but most companies say they won't be ready until 2021.

  上周,美国国家航空航天局宣布,九家公司将竞争运载科学实验到月球的非载人行动。该航天局表示,其中的首批行动可能在2019年就会开始,但大多数公司称他们要到2021年才能准备到位。

  NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine hailed chang 'e-4 as an exciting mission and discussed the possibility of working with China's space agency at the international space congress in Bremen, Germany, in October. Federal law prohibits any interaction between NASA and China.

  美国国家航空航天局局长吉姆· 布里登斯廷(Jim Bridenstine)称赞嫦娥四号是一项激动人心的任务,并曾于十月份在德国不来梅港市举行的国际宇航大会上谈到与中国的航天局合作的可能。联邦法律禁止美国国家航空航天局与中国进行任何互动。

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