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火星着陆器崩溃:出现了什么问题? – 译学馆
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火星着陆器崩溃:出现了什么问题?

The Mars Lander Crash: What Went Wrong?

要完成一次航天任务 需要数年的准备和数百人的参与
It takes years of preparation and hundreds of people to make a space mission happen.
但尽管这样 有时候事情还是不如计划那么顺利
But sometimes things still don’t go as planned.
像上周Schiaparelli探测器出发到火星–不幸的是
Like, last week, the Schiaparelli lander got to Mars — and unfortunately, it arrived with
它的到达没有我们想象的那么顺利
a little more of a bang than we hoped.
这个探测器是ExoMars(非载人火星探测任务)的一部分 是欧空局
The lander was part of ExoMars, a joint project between the European Space Agency and the
和俄罗斯联邦航天局的共同计划
Russian space agency Roscosmos.
这两项计划是想用通过研究火星上的湿度、地质和大气状况
The two-mission program was designed to investigate whether there’s life on Mars, by studying
来探究火星上是否存在生命迹象
the planet’s water, geochemistry, and atmosphere.
在10月19日 第一项计划顺利进行
And on October 19th, the first mission arrived as planned.
它包括两个航天器:微量气体探测器 简称TGO 还有Schiaparelli探测器
It carried two spacecraft: the Trace Gas Orbiter, or TGO, and the Schiaparelli lander.
计划是TGO会进入火星的轨道
The plan was that TGO would go into orbit around Mars and start searching for the source
并开始探测火星大气中甲烷的来源
of methane in its atmosphere.
利用地球上的宇宙观察设备和天文望远镜 我们可以看到火星的大气
Using space observatories and telescopes on Earth, we’ve seen that Mars’s atmosphere
有少量的甲烷气体 但是气体的水平是根据位置和时间
has a small amount of methane gas, but its levels change depending on the location and
变化的
the time.
这意味着火星表面很可能有某些制造甲烷的东西
Which means there’s likely something creating methane on the surface.
甲烷在地球上是有生命迹象的象征 因为植物和动物都会排放出甲烷气体
On Earth, methane is usually a sign of life, since it’s emitted by both plants and animals,
但像矿物的分解这样的地质活动也会产生甲烷
but it’s also created by geochemical processes, like minerals breaking down.
现在我们不知道火星上的甲烷是来自生物还是地质活动
Right now, we don’t know if the methane on Mars is coming from a living source or
所以TGO可以得到至今为止最详细的火星大气成分
geochemical one, so TGO is designed to create the most detailed model yet of Mars’s atmosphere
来帮助解决这个问题
to help figure that out.
同时 Schiaparelli探测器也是ExoMars第二部分计划的试运行
Meanwhile, the Schiaparelli lander was made as a test run for the second part of ExoMars:
一个在2020年着陆的漫游者
a rover, which should launch in 2020.
在Schiaparelli的帮助下 工程师们想确保 在发射漫游者之前
With Schiaparelli, the engineers wanted to make sure they had all the technology in place
所有的科技都已经到位了
to successfully land on Mars before sending the rover.
一开始一切都很顺利
And at first, everything was going great!
TGO很顺利地进入了轨道 并且一开始的报告说一切都好
TGO was smoothly inserted into orbit, and initial reports say it’s still going well!
不幸的是 Schiaparelli的着陆过程很艰难
Unfortunately, Schiaparelli had a rough landing.
我是说它坠毁了
And by that I mean it crashed.
在探测器到达表面的50秒之前 我们失去了和他的
Just 50 seconds before the lander reached the surface, we suddenly lost contact with
联系
it.
这个探测器本来应该被九个推送器控制着 有一个仅需要6分钟的轻松降落
The lander was supposed to have an easy, six-minute descent controlled by nine thrusters.
但实际上 它在到达表面约2到4千米的高度就开始自由落体
But instead, it started free-falling between two and four kilometers above the surface,
意味着它以300千米每小时的速度坠落到了火星
meaning it crashed into Mars at over 300 kilometers per hour.
想象一辆赛车撞到了一面砖墙上
Imagine a race car crashing into a brick wall.
事情不太顺利
It didn’t go well.
利用正在围绕火星轨道运行的侦察人造卫星上的低像素相机
Using the low-res camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently orbiting Mars,
NASA得到了几张着陆点的照片
NASA was able to snap a few photos of the landing site, and it looks like there was
看上去Schiaparelli在着陆点坠毁了
a crash right where Schiaparelli was supposed to land.
很快就会有高清的照片 但是现在似乎已经很清楚发生了些什么
High-resolution images will be available soon, but it seems pretty clear what happened.
工程师在接下来几周内可以知道完整经过 但现在好像是因为
Engineers will have the full story within the next few weeks, but it looks like the
降落伞打开得太早了 或者是推进器没有推进
parachute may have jettisoned too early, or the thrusters didn’t activate for as long
足够的时间
as they should have.
尽管Schiaparelli的着陆不像计划那么顺利 这次任务也不失败
But even though Schiaparelli’s landing didn’t go as planned, the mission was not a failure!
那个微量气体探测器会在2020年前研究火星的大气成分
The Trace Gas Orbiter will be doing important research on Mars’s atmosphere until 2020,
Schiaparelli一开始的下落数据也会帮助欧空局和俄罗斯联邦航空局
and even the initial descent data from Schiaparelli will help the ESA and Roscosmos, when the
为他们发射漫游者到火星做准备
time comes for them to put their lander on Mars.
我们都知道宇宙探索不是件容易事 但是我们可以从每次任务中
We all know that space exploration isn’t easy, but we’re learning more with every
吸取教训
mission.
同时 在遥远的星系 科学家发现了奇怪的x射线爆发
Meanwhile, in galaxies far, far away, scientists have discovered weird bursts of X-rays that
比他们看过的任何射线都要强
are stronger than almost anything else that they’ve seen before!
在《自然》上发表的一篇学术文章里 宇航员说他们观察到在两个不同的星系中
In a study published in the journal Nature, astronomers say they observed what may turn
有全新系列的空间爆炸
out to be a brand-new class of space explosion, taking place in two different galaxies.
发生这些爆炸的星系是常规的双星系统
The star systems where these explosions are happening appear to be normal binary systems,
黑洞或者中子星会从伴星中利用引力拉走其质量
where either a black hole or a neutron star is pulling matter from a companion star.
通常 这两个系统会像其他双星系统一样发射一些
And typically, these two systems emit some X-rays, just like plenty of other binary systems
X射线
do.
但是每隔几天 就会有一些东西导致他们突然燃烧
But every few days, something causes them to flare up.
大约在一分钟里 它们会变亮数百倍
Within about a minute, they become hundreds of times brighter than they were before, emitting
发射出比以往观察到的任何东西都强烈的X射线
more X-rays than almost anything that’s ever been observed.
在这些时刻 这些物质符合我们称作超发光X射线发射源 简称ULXs的特性
At these peaks, these objects qualify as what are called ULXs, or ultra-luminous X-ray sources.
现在 有另外一种ULX也就是我们所知的磁星
Now, there’s another kind of ULX that we know as magnetars, young neutron stars with
有着强大磁场的年轻中子星
powerful magnetic fields.
但这些新的星系比我们所见过的任何磁星还要更亮 上百倍甚至
But these new systems are hundreds to thousands of times brighter than any magnetar we’ve
上千倍
ever seen.
和几分钟后就会黯淡的磁星相比 这些星系可以更长时间地保持亮度
They also stay brighter for longer, peaking for about an hour, compared to magnetars,
能够持续约一个小时的超强亮度
which fade after only a few seconds.
和一般都较年轻的磁星不同 从天文学角度来说
And unlike magnetars, which tend to be pretty young, astronomically speaking, these systems
新的星系通常会出现在衰老恒星集中的椭圆星系周围
have only been seen around elliptical galaxies, which are mainly groups of older stars.
这个星系的发现归功于 两台1999年的X射线天文望远镜 NASA的钱卓拉天文观测台
The systems were found using data from NASA’s Chandra Observatory and the ESA’s XMM-Newton
和欧空局XMM-Newton观测台的数据
Observatory, two X-ray space telescopes launched in 1999.
在搜寻了70个星系后 宇航员在47光年外的星系发现了一个新的ULX
After searching through 70 galaxies, astronomers found one of the new ULXs in a galaxy 47 million
另一个则在14光年外的人马座A
light-years away, and the other 14 million light-years away, near the galaxy Centaurus
附近
A.
宇航员仍在探寻发生骤燃的原因
Astronomers are still trying to figure out what’s creating these flares, they think
他们认为可能是有东西掉入黑洞引起的
they may be caused by matter falling into black holes.
但是他们目前还不确定
But, again, they’re not sure yet.
总之 探索宇宙是件难事
So, exploring the universe is hard.
但是每过一段时间 你就会发现一些奇怪有趣的事情 让之前的辛苦都值得
But every once in awhile, you find something cool and weird enough that makes it all worthwhile.
感谢你收看这集Scishow Space的节目
Thank you for watching this episode of SciShow Space!
特别感谢我们的赞助人SR Foxly 使这期节目
And a very special thank-you to our Patreon President of Space, SR Foxly, for making this
顺利拍摄
show happen.
如果你想支持我们继续做这样的节目 登陆Patreon.com/scishow
If you want to help us keep making episodes like this, you can go to Patreon.com/scishow
如果你想和我们一起学新知识 登陆youtube.com/scishowspace 并
and if you just want to continue getting smarter with us, go to youtube.com/scishowspace and
订阅我们的节目
subscribe.

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