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小行星,系外卫星,以及对卫星的着迷 – 译学馆
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Asteroids, Exomoons, and a Crash on the Moon

超新星 黑洞 系外行星我们对它们是如此的着迷
Supernovas, black holes, exoplanets. We’re fascinated with them, and who can blame us?
But sometimes we forget to talk about the littler things out there like asteroids and
小行星和卫星事实上 探索小天体可能是
moons which are critical to our understanding of the universe. The fact is, exploring small
stuff might be the key to some of our greatest missions in space, like discovering the origins
of the solar system, finding habitability and locating resources for future space travel.
So this week, I bring you news from three missions dedicated to studying the little
我是主持人Caitlin Hofmeister欢迎收看SciShow太空新闻
guys of space. I’m Caitlin Hofmeister and welcome to SciShow Space News.
上周 NASA开始制造一架用来取样小行星的航天器
Last week, NASA officially began construction on its first spacecraft designed to sample
an asteroid. The mission, called OSIRIS-REx, will travel to a 500 meter-wide asteroid in
并采样带回地球 目标小行星将是
near-Earth orbit and steal a quick scoop of it to bring back to Earth. Its target will
Bennu星 一个可追溯到诞生之日已有45亿岁的时间胶囊
be the asteroid Bennu, a 4.5 billion year old time capsule dating back to the creation
of the solar system. NASA’s hoping that Bennu’s chemistry will answer a lot of questions
like whether water and organic molecules, the building blocks of life, were present
除此之外 在我们开始寻找小行星作为后续太空任务的空间站之后
at the time of the solar system’s formation. Plus, finding water on Bennu would be incredibly
handy as we begin to look to asteroids as possible way stations for future space missions,
除此以外我们还可能找到大量烙铁 镍 钛等材料
and we might find a wealth of materials like iron, nickel or titanium to boot. OSIRIS-REx
will launch in September of 2016 and it’ll enter orbit around Bennu two years later.
Then it’ll begin scanning its surface with three spectrometers to determine its chemical
composition. Bennu’s gravity is much lower than that of Earth’s, so the craft won’t
be able to land. So by 2019 it’ll choose the perfect point to snatch up some asteroid
dust using a delightfully named instrument called a Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism,
简称TAGSAM 然后这个太空船会快速返航把岩石样品带回地球
or TAGSAM. Then the little craft will hightail it back to Earth, releasing its sample return
capsule which should arrive in 2023.
Now looking at space news much farther from home, astronomers in New Zealand and Tasmania
said last week that they’ve observed what they think is the first known exomoon, that
这是个环绕外行星的卫星然而在细节上还比较粗略 粗略到
is, a moon orbiting an exoplanet. Details, however, are kind of sketchy, like so sketchy
that the astronomers say they might be wrong. They think they could’ve seen either an
外行星和一个卫星或是环绕一个又小又暗的恒星的行星 但不管怎样
exoplanet with a moon or a small, dim star being orbited by a planet. But either way,
their observation was a big step toward finding exomoons in the future. Exomoons are really
难以发现的 因为它们又小又暗小型外行星几乎是
hard to find because they’re so small and faint. Even small exoplanets can be nearly
不可能找到的 因为它们被耀眼的恒星掩藏了但有一种方法叫做
impossible to spot because they get lost in the glare of their stars. But a method called
引力透镜 将其与好的计划相结合也许能让我们观测到遥远的卫星
gravitational lensing combined with good planning may allow us to observe distant moons in the
在未来 通过引力透镜法一个巨大的天体能作为极佳的透镜
future. With gravitational lensing, a massive body in space can act as a really good lens
for light that passes through its atmosphere from behind. That’s how this mysterious
body was spotted in the first place. The larger body magnified light from a distant star,
and in that light the astronomers saw a smaller body. But the bigger body could’ve either
been a planet or a very dim star of its own that’s actually farther away than they thought.
如果我们一旦知道它有多远我们就几乎可以确定它的存在了 就像优秀的科学家一样
If only we knew how far away it was we’d be able to tell for sure. So like good scientists,
the astronomers are gearing up to try it again. Using two distant telescopes fixed on the
same point and observing the same lensing effect, they plan to triangulate the distance
to the body and figure out how big it is. It’s a simple solution called parallax that’s
served us well for more than a century, and it just maybe the key to discovering exomoons
with confidence in the future.
最终 另一个卫星任务将画上句号上周 NASA声称他们期望
And finally, another moon mission is drawing to an end. Last week, NASA said it expects
the spacecraft known as LADEE to crash into the surface of the moon this Monday, April
十一月始 月球气尘检测器又称月球大气与粉尘环境
21st. Since November, LADEE, also known as the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment
探索者 将收集月球大气的图像与测量数据并且现在准备
Explorer, has been collecting photos and measurements of the lunar atmosphere and now is ready to
某一天调用它 也许要运行140天或更久在地球密度的一百万亿倍的状态下
call it a day, or rather 140 or so days. At 100 trillionth of the density of the Earth’s,
月球大气可能就像其它的卫星 小行星一样了
the lunar atmosphere is probably like that of many other moons, small planets, and asteroids.
所以月尘器已经观察了发送大量的数据传回地球以供分析 最显著的是
So LADEE has been observing away sending loads of data back to Earth for analysis. Most notably,
it seems to have solved the mystery of the strange streaky glow at sunrise that Apollo
宇航员报告说观测到的 根据月尘器的观测这归因于
astronauts reported seeing in the 1970s. According to LADEE’s observations, it was caused by
我们甚至还不太确定的机载月球尘埃月尘器真是个好孩子 感谢你
airborne lunar dust that we weren’t even sure was there. Good boy LADEE, thank you
for a good six months.
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