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为什么研究地球能告诉我们关于火星的生命? – 译学馆
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为什么研究地球能告诉我们关于火星的生命?

What Studying Earth Can Tell Us About Life on Mars

火星是一个令人非常震惊的星球 几十年来 我们对火星的探索任务
Mars is a pretty astounding planet, and our missions to Mars have been making fascinating
已经取得了伟大的 具有突破性的发现
and ground-breaking discoveries for decades now.
但事实上其中最酷的研究并未在火星进行
But some of the coolest Mars research isn’t actually conducted on Mars.
它是在地球上一个与火星非常相似的环境里完成的
It’s done here on Earth, in environments that are a lot like Mars, either as it is
要么是像现在的环境那样 要么是像数十亿年前那样
now, or as it was billions of years ago.
它们被称为地面模拟
They’re called terrestrial analogues.
在这些环境中完成的研究总体上改变了我们
And the research done in these environments has changed the way we think about life on
看待地球 火星和类地行星上生命的方式
Earth, Mars, and rocky planets in general.
研究火星的地面模拟有这么几个理由
There are a couple main reasons to study terrestrial analogues for Mars.
其一是它是一种实用的太空研究方法
One is that it’s a practical approach to space research.
要到达火星既艰难又昂贵 而我们待在地球上是免费的
It’s difficult and expensive to get to Mars, and we’re already here on Earth for free.
关于火星有太多问题是我们
And we have way too many questions about Mars to be able to answer all of them with just
仅通过在火星上现有的工具是无法全部解答的
the tools we have over there.
所以 在地球上开展与火星相关的研究使我们对火星和地球的认识
So doing Mars-related research on Earth lets us learn more about both Mars and Earth than
比仅在火星上开展研究要多的多
we would if we only did our Mars research on Mars.
另外一个原因是 揭开火星人奥秘的最佳方法就是
Another reason is that the best way to solve some Martian mysteries
拿火星与地球进行比较
is to compare Mars to Earth.
提到火星 其中一个最大的疑问就是 火星上是否孕育过生命
One of the biggest questions when it comes to Mars is whether it ever harbored life.
在与火星相似的地球上寻找生命 为我们提供了更好的思路
And looking for life in places on Earth that resemble Mars can give us a better idea of
这个思路就是 在火星上 生命有可能会在哪种环境下发展存活
what kinds of adaptations life might have developed to survive on Mars,
如果生命曾经在那里进化过的话
if it ever did evolve there.
对于理论条件下生命存活的环境了解得更多 也有利于我们
Knowing more about where life can theoretically survive could also help us figure out where
判断到哪里去寻找火星上的生命迹象
to look for signs of life on Mars.
所以 一些地球上先进的火星地面模拟用处很大
So, some of the best analogues for Mars here on Earth are useful not just because of the
因为它们不仅让我们更深入地了解火星这颗行星 而且使我们了解到
insight they give us into Mars as a planet, but because of the insight they give us into
火星可以是一个潜在的宜居星球
Mars as a potentially habitable planet.
以拿墨西哥的奈卡煤矿为例
Like the Naica mines in Mexico, for instance.
奈卡矿山和洞穴与火星的地下环境可能类似
The Naica mines and caves are probably similar to underground environments on Mars, which
我们知道它存在 但无法去探索 因为
we know exist, but haven’t been able to explore because it’s super dangerous to
要在其他星球上发射一个探测车到地底下去及其危险
send a rover underground on another planet.
奈卡洞穴跟早期火星的地下环境看起来或许极为相似
The caves at Naica are probably especially similar to what it would have looked like
那时候的火星更湿 更温暖
underground on early Mars, when the planet was much wetter and warmer.
跟大多数的煤矿一样 奈卡煤矿处于地下深处 但和很多煤矿不同的是
Like most mines, the Naica mines are deep underground, but unlike most mines, they’re
奈卡煤矿极其酷热潮湿
ridiculously hot and humid.
这种环境对人来说是致命的
Like, lethally hot and humid.
研究人员不得不采取诸多措施 包括身穿特殊的“冰服”
Researchers have to take tons of precautions, including wearing special “ice suits”
冰服配有氧气供应设备以确保研究人员不会遇难
with oxygen supplies, to make sure they don’t die.
这个煤矿恰巧又美得令人叹为观止 是个具有大量石膏晶体的巨大洞穴
The mines also happen to be incredibly beautiful, home to huge caverns containing massive gypsum
这些大洞穴使大象都显得非常渺小 更不要说人类了
crystals that dwarf elephants, let alone people.
从2009年左右开始实施的实验中 研究人员发现了难以置信的东西:
And from experiments started around 2009, researchers discovered something incredible:
休眠的微生物存在于水晶的气液包体中
there were dormant microbes in fluid inclusions in the crystals, basically tiny little pockets
它们主要是一些在水晶成长过程中形成小水包
of water that form in a crystal as it grows.
并且研究人员能够将它复活
And the researchers were able to revive them!
这给予我们两点启示:一 如果火星上曾进化出生命 那么生命也能够
That tells us two things: first, that if life ever evolved on Mars, it might have been able
在相似的洞穴环境里生存 其次 要寻找过去或者现在的生命迹象
to survive in similar cave environments; and second, that those are really good places
这些地方最为合适
to check for signs of life, past or present.
这种在岩石上生存的策略很奇怪 但很有用
This strategy of surviving in rock is really weird, but super useful.
生活在地球其他一些地方的微生物采取了一种相似的策略
And a similar strategy has been taken up by the microbes living in another place on Earth
位于南极洲麦克默多的干谷 很好的模拟了火星
that’s a great analogue for Mars: the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica.
这个干谷基本上跟奈卡煤矿是相反的:它们是极冷的沙漠
The Dry Valleys are basically the opposite of the Naica mines: they’re super cold deserts,
它们更像火星北极那又干又冷的低地
and they’re a lot like the dry, freezing lowlands of the Martian north pole.
对于把这些地方当作项目来研究的研究人员来说 比如NASA 把干谷作为
Researchers working on projects for places like NASA use the Dry Valleys as a place to
测试为火星特制的设备的地方 太空生物学家
test equipment destined for Mars, and astrobiologists use them
利用他们来探索火星潜在的宜居性
to explore Mars’s potential for habitability.
因为尽管干谷真的又冷又干 科学家已经发现了
Because even though the Dry Valleys are really cold and dry, scientists have discovered a
几种设法在那些地方生存的生命了
few forms of life that manage to live there.
其中一些已经采取了与奈卡煤矿里生命相似的策略
And some of them have adopted a similar strategy to the life in Naica,
尽管他们的生活习性有着天壤之别
despite the huge difference between their habitats.
干谷的一些石头里面存在着石内光养生物
There are endolithic phototrophs in some of the rocks at the Dry Valleys.
endolithic的意思是“在石头里面” 然后phototrophs的意思就是利用光合作用
Endolithic means “inside rock,” and phototrophs use photosynthesis.
这些微生物是这么做的:他们居住在岩石内部 但他们仍然能利用光合作用
And that’s what these organisms do: they live inside rock, but they still use photosynthesis.
包含有岩内微生物的石头大部分是砂岩
The rocks containing the endoliths are mostly sandstone,
一些光线能在砂岩内传播
which can transmit some light through it.
所以 石头内的微生物仍然能够进行光合作用 尽管它们
So the microbes inside the rock are still able to photosynthesize even though they’re
没有直接暴露在阳光下 并且 他们还获得了一个极好的小岩石屋子
not directly exposed to sunlight, and they get a nice little rocky home to protect them
这能够保护他们免受南极严寒沙漠的侵害
from the harsh Antarctic desert.
奈卡煤矿和干谷都聚集了这种生命 这类生命都采取了一种
Both Naica and the Dry Valleys host life that has taken an approach to survival
在火星上可能很重要的方式以生存下去
that could be outstanding on Mars.
由于火星的大气很稀薄 也没有磁场 所以火星表面
Since Mars doesn’t have much of an atmosphere and has no magnetic field, its surface is
总是被紫外线冲击
constantly bombarded by UV light.
如果火星上潜在的生命生存在岩石内部或者在地下 那足以保护它们免受辐射危害
If potential life on Mars lived inside rock or underground, that might be enough shielding
使其应该在火星早期历史中足以生存好长时间
from radiation for them to have survived for a good while during Mars’s early history.
这些策略很了不起的是 尤其是岩内策略 就是
And the neat thing about these strategies, especially the endolithic strategy, is that
只要有合适的岩石 到哪儿它都可以生存
it can work anywhere you have the right kind of rock.
正如它适合于火星的南方高地 这种方法也同样适用于火星的北极
This could work just as well at Mars’s north pole as it could in its southern highlands,
只要岩石有足够的透明度
as long as the rock is transparent enough.
所以 这些发现为我们打开了了解火星的一扇窗户
So, these discoveries have given us a window into Mars,
而且我们甚至都不用离开地球
and we didn’t even have to leave Earth!
由于我们没有停下往太阳系外探索的脚步 也没有停下寻找岩石类外星球
As we continue to explore beyond our solar system and find rocky exoplanets, this research
这项研究变得尤为重要
becomes even more important.
它有利于我们定义 对于所有星球来说 宜居是什么概念的问题 而不仅仅是我们自己的星球
It helps us define what it means to be habitable for all planets, not just our own.
大量的细微地下微生物也为我们敲响了生存危机的警钟
And a bunch of little underground microbes just gave me an existential crisis.
感谢收看SciShow Space的这一集视频
Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow Space,
特别鸣谢我们的赞助商:Patreon 是他们的大力支持才使得这集视频得以制作完成
and thanks especially to our patrons on Patreon who help make this show possible.
如果你想帮助我们继续制作这类视频
If you want to help us keep making episodes like this,
就前往patreon.com/scishow去了解更多的内容吧
just go to patreon.com/scishow to learn more.
别忘了去youtube.com/scishowspace订阅哦
And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishowspace and subscribe!

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火星上存不存在生命呢?怎样可以知道这个问题的答案呢?该通过什么方法呢?这个视频会告诉你答案哦

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