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星际间通讯的未来 – 译学馆
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星际间通讯的未来

The Future of Interstellar Communication

科学秀
Sci-show
《星际迷航》中 如果进取号要和星际舰队司令部通话 他们会
In Star Trek, if the Enterprise needed to talk to Starfleet Command, they could just
发一个短讯或进行实时对话 即使彼此相距光年
send a quick message or have a conversation in real time, even if they were light-years away from each other.
但《星际迷航》中的很多事不像现实生活中那样
But like most things in Star Trek, that’s not how it works in real life.
例如 承载信息的波最快只能以光速传播
For one thing, the waves that carry messages can only travel as fast as the speed of light,
或者说以每秒三亿米的速度传播 听起来很快 但宇宙空间也很大啊
or about 300 million meters per second — and that may sound really fast, but space is also really big.
若航天器再快一点 我们就很难搜索到它的信号
And as a spacecraft gets farther away, it becomes harder for us to detect its signal,
所以 我们需要越来越大的探测器
so we need bigger and bigger detectors.
由于我们仍集中精力探索自己所在的星系 (所以)目前来看 问题不大
Since we’re still focusing on exploring our own star system, that’s not a big deal right now.
即便我们曾向其他星球发射过探针 也还是要城市大小的探测器来获取其数据的
If we ever sent a probe to another star, though, we’d need a detector the size of a city to get any data from it.
不过科学家正致力于解决这个问题
But scientists are already working on a solution for that!
并且可能会利用太阳作为巨大的透镜来增强信号
And it might involve using the Sun as a giant lens to strengthen the signal.
当你想到透镜时 可能会想到放大物体的 一块弧状的玻璃 就像望远镜
When you think of a lens, you might think of a curved piece of glass that can magnify objects, like a telescope.
但实际上 太阳本身就是一面被称为“引力透镜”的透镜 因为
But the Sun actually creates a lens of its own, called a gravitational lens, because
像恒星这么大的物体 有很强的 可以弯曲其周围空间的引力
huge objects like stars have so much gravity that they warp and curve space around them.
这难道不是宇宙中最酷的事吗
Isn’t that just the coolest thing in the universe?
当恒星造成周围空间弯曲时 任何传来的辐射
When those stars curve space, any radiation traveling toward them — like light from a
比如来自遥远星系的光 也成弯曲的了
distant galaxy — gets curved, too.
恒星如一枚巨大的透镜 扭曲了周围的光线 从远处观察
The star bends the light around itself like a giant lens, and if you looked at the star
你会发现 其周围环绕着一圈扭曲放大的光环
from a distance, you would see a magnified, distorted ring of light around it.
听上去有点复杂 因为确实如此
It sounds kind of complicated -because it is.
但引力透镜很有用 可以帮我们看到
But gravitational lenses are super useful because they allow us to see distant objects
那些通常被大的恒星或星系群遮住的事物
that would normally be blocked by big stars or clusters of galaxies.
且由于引力透镜能弯曲不限于可见光的任何辐射
And because gravitational lenses bend any kind of radiation, not just visible light,
它们也可被用来放大无线电波或其他通信信号
they could also be used to magnify radio waves or other communication signals!
若环绕另一恒星的宇宙飞船向太阳发射一条信息
If a spacecraft around another star shot a message right at our Sun, the Sun’s gravitational
太阳的引力透镜会对信号起到放大推进作用 这样我们就能够接收到了
lens would magnify and boost the signal so we could pick it up.
信息不会被加速 因为信号传递速度已经是光速
It wouldn’t speed up the message, because the signal would already be traveling at the
但它却可以被增强 这样我们可以传送更多数据 探测也变得更容易
speed of light, but it would make it stronger, so we could send more data and detect it more easily.
不过 在我们准备好之前会有大量工作
We have a whole lot of work to do before we’re ready for that, though.
最大的问题是 我们不能像如今的解决方案一样
The main problem is that we wouldn’t be able to just use a big receiving dish on Earth
在地球上建一个“大盘子”接收器
like we do with missions today.
和其它透镜一样 引力透镜也有一个焦点
Like others lenses, the lens created by the Sun has a focal point — a place where all
即所有辐射波交汇的点
of the waves of radiation come together.
事实上 太阳有多个焦点 或焦点线
The Sun actually has a bunch of focal points, or a focal line, but the closest place to
但最近的可接收信号的点距我们超过8000万公里
pick up a signal is over 80 billion kilometers away — more than 550 times the distance
是太阳到地球距离的550倍以上
from the Earth to the Sun.
拿旅行者1号做对比 它目前距我们约2.1亿公里
Compare that to the Voyager 1 probe, which is about 21 billion kilometers away.
是我们曾向太空发送的最远的物体 花费40年才到达那里
That’s the farthest we’ve ever sent anything into space, and it took 40 years to get there.
利用太阳进行远距离通信 事实上会走的比
And to use the Sun for long-distance communication, it might actually be even better to go farther
8000万公里更远 因其可以帮我们躲避太阳耀斑
than 80 billion kilometers, because that would help us avoid solar flares and other interference
以及影响通信的 来自太阳的其它干扰
from the Sun that could scramble communications signals.
另一方面 如果我们已经具备向其它星球发送任务的能力
On the other hand, if we’re at the point where we’re able to send missions all the
或许8000万公里没什么大不了
way to other stars, maybe getting to 80 Billion kilometers out wouldn’t be much of a problem.
尽管不得不想办法破解我们收到的信息
We’d also have to figure out how to reconstruct the message we received, though.
信号可能会因太阳引力而变形 所以我们要进行大量计算
The signal would be warped by the Sun’s gravity, so we’d have to do a lot of math
使收到的混乱信息变得清晰
to make sense of the jumbled messages we got.
除此之外 我们也只能收到与探测器处在
On top of that, we’d only be able to get messages from spacecraft on the exact opposite
太阳正相反方向的宇宙飞船发来的信息
side of the Sun from our receiving probe.
如果我们想发送信息 而不仅仅是接收
And if we wanted to send a message instead of just receiving one, we’d also have to
我们得保持远方的飞船处在太阳焦点线上 才能确保它接收到信号
get the faraway spacecraft somewhere on the Sun’s focal line so it could pick up our
这确实限制了你对新奇世界的探索
signal, which is pretty limiting when you’re trying to explore strange new worlds.
因此 我们探索的脚步停止了
So we have our work cut out for us.
但一些天文学家认为这一定会实现 有一天我们
But some astronomers think it could definitely happen, and that one day, we might have a
可能会用引力透镜穿越星空进行超远距离的星际交流
huge interstellar communications network using gravitational lenses across the galaxy.
天文学家只能尽量设想
Astronomers can’t help but dream big.
但即使我们未解决 怎样访问其他星球的问题 至少能把
But even if we never figure out how to visit other stars, we could at least use the Sun’s
太阳引力透镜当作望远镜
gravitational lens as a big telescope.
除了破解信息和在正确地点获得探测信息 我们还可以
Instead of translating messages and getting the probes in the right spots, we could just
用透镜得到位于太阳背面的所有近景 比如外行星
use the lens to get a close-up view at whatever is directly behind the Sun, like exoplanets
或远方的星系
or distant galaxies.
这就好像有了一个可视距离过百万公里的望远镜
It would be like having a telescope with a lens more than a million kilometers across!
但不论哪种方式 我们确实没有准备好用太阳做引力透镜
But either way, we’re definitely not ready to use the Sun as a gravitational lens for
去做任何事 更不必说星际交流
anything yet — let alone interstellar Snapchat.
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If you’d like to help us keep explaining ideas like this, you can go to patreon.com/scishow.
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视频概述

太阳在星际交流中充当了什么作用呐?

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