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星际旅行真的可以实现了?

  Recent reports from scientists pursuing a new kind of nuclear fusion technology are encouraging,but we are still some distance away from the"holy grail of clean energy".

  科学家们最近发表的关于新型核聚变技术的研究成果很鼓舞人心,但要获得“清洁能源的圣杯”我们还需要继续努力。

  The technology developed by Heinrich Hora and his colleagues at the University of NSW uses powerful lasers to fuse together hydrogen and boron atoms,releasing high-energy particles that can be used to generate electricity.

  这项技术是由新南威尔士大学的海因里希·霍拉和他的同事共同开发的,他们使用功率强大的激光把氢和硼原子融合在一起,以便释放出可以用来发电的高能粒子。

  As with other kinds of nuclear fusion technology,however,the difficulty is in building a machine that can reliably initiate the reaction and harness the energy it produces.

  然而,与其他类型的核聚变技术一样,该技术的难点在于如何制造一台能够有效启动反应并利用其产生的能量的机器。

  What is fusion?

  什么是聚变?

  Fusion is the process that powers the Sun and the stars.It occurs when the nuclei of two atoms are forced so close to one another that they combine into one,releasing energy in the process.
纽约时报中英文网 www.qqenglish.com


  聚变就是为太阳和恒星提供能量的过程。当两个原子的原子核被迫紧靠在一起的时候,它们就会结合成一个原子并在这个过程中释放能量。

  If the reaction can be tamed in the laboratory,it has the potential to deliver near-limitless baseload electricity with virtually zero carbon emissions.

  如果能在实验室控制这种反应,它就有可能在几乎零碳排放的情况下,提供近乎无限的基载电力。

  星际旅行要实现了?.jpg

  The experiments with hydrogen and boron have certainly produced fascinating physical results,but projections by Hora and colleagues of a five-year path to realising fusion power seem premature.Others have attempted laser-triggered fusion.The National Ignition Facility in the US,for example,has attempted to achieve hydrogen-deuterium fusion ignition using 192 laser beams focused on a small target. 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

  氢和硼的实验确实产生了极好的结果,但是霍拉和他的同事预期在5年里实现控制核聚变能量的想法似乎还为时过早。其他人也尝试过用激光触发核聚变。例如,美国国家点火装置实验室曾尝试用192束激光照射一个小靶核来实现氢-氘聚变点火。

  These experiments reached one-third of the conditions needed for ignition for a single experiment.The challenges include precise placement of the target,non-uniformity of the laser beam,and instabilities that occur as the target implodes.

  这些实验有三分之一达到了单次实验所需的点火条件。其中面临的挑战有目标的精确定位、激光束的不均匀性以及目标内爆时的不稳定性。

  These experiments were conducted at most twice per day.By contrast,estimates suggest that a power plant would require the equivalent of 10 experiments per second.

  这些实验每天最多能进行两次。相比之下,据估计,一个发电厂可能需要每秒进行相当于这样10次的实验。

  That said,there is always room for smart innovation and new concepts,and it is wonderful to see all kinds of investment in fusion science.

  也就是说,总有巧妙创新和提出新概念的空间,而且我们很高兴能看到在核聚变科学上进行的各种投资。
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