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2021-02-23 05:54
本文摘要:In a technological feat that gives scientists their first opportunity to dig into a remnant of the early solar system, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission successfully placed a small spacecraft on the surface of a speeding comet on


In a technological feat that gives scientists their first opportunity to dig into a remnant of the early solar system, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission successfully placed a small spacecraft on the surface of a speeding comet on Wednesday.本周三,欧洲航天局(European Space Agency)的“罗塞塔”(Rosetta)任务已完成了一项技术伟业,顺利地将一个小型航天器送往一颗高速移动的彗星表面,这给科学家们获取了机会,让他们首次以求了解探究早期太阳系的瓦解星体。With this achievement, a comet is no longer a mysterious and sometimes frightening spray of light across the night sky, but another member of the solar system to be explored, like the moon and Mars. The technology of landing on a comet, with its wisps of gravity, could be applied to future efforts to mine asteroids.从此之后,彗星仍然是夜空中擦过的一种谜样可怕的光焰,而是重新加入月球和火星的行列,沦为太阳系中又一个可以被探寻的成员。

彗星的引力十分黯淡,降落彗星的技术,未来可以应用于到小行星的资源挖出领域。The agency’s director general, Jean-Jacques Dordain, described the touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a 2.5-mile-wide ball of rock, ice and dust moving faster than 40,000 miles an hour, as “a big step for human civilization.”欧航局局长让-雅克·多尔丹(Jean-Jacques Dordain)说道,在67P/丘留莫夫-格拉西缅科彗星上降落是“人类文明行进的一大步”。该彗星长大约2.5英里,是由岩石、冰和尘埃包含的一个球体,移动时速逾4万英里。

“Our ambitious Rosetta mission has secured another place in the history books,” Mr. Dordain said at a news conference. “Not only is it the first to rendezvous with and orbit a comet, but it is now also the first to deliver a probe to a comet’s surface.”“我们的‘罗塞塔’任务充满著雄心,它早已不足以名载史册,”多尔丹在新闻发布会上说道。“这不仅是首次转入彗星轨道,绕着它飞行中,而且是首次把探测器送上了彗星表面。”For scientists, one of the central mysteries that Rosetta will explore is whether Earth’s oceans are filled with melted comets. Since the rocky bits that came together to form the planet were dry, water has to have come from somewhere else. One possibility is that comets slamming into the Earth early on seeded it with water.对于科学家,“罗塞塔”即将探寻的一个主要奥秘是:地球上的海洋否充满著了熔融的彗星。


News of the touchdown of the 220-pound lander, named Philae, arrived at the mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany, at 5:03 p.m. local time (11:03 a.m. Eastern time). Cheers erupted.220重达的着陆器“菲莱”(Philae)顺利降落的消息,在德国达姆施塔特本地时间下午5时03分(美国东部时间上午11时03分)抵达了那里的“罗塞塔”任务控制中心。欢呼声急遽听见。“We’re there, and Philae is talking to us,” said Stephan Ulamec, the manager for the lander. “We are on the comet.”“我们就在那里,‘菲莱’在向我们发送到消息,”着陆器负责人斯蒂芬·奇拉米克(Stephan Ulamec)说道。“我们在彗星上了。

”With that news, a procession of officials from nations and organizations, including NASA, that had collaborated on the $1.75 billion mission reveled in the accomplishment, capping a 10-year, four-billion-mile trip.获知这个消息后,很多国家和的组织的官员欢呼雀跃,因为历时10年、长达40亿英里的漫漫旅程有了成果。这些的组织中也还包括美国国家航空航天局(NASA),它为这个斥资17.5亿美元的任务获取了协助。“How audacious!” said James L. Green, the director of NASA’s planetary sciences division. “How exciting! How unbelievable to be able to dare to land on a comet.”“太猛了!”NASA行星科学部主任詹姆斯·L·格林(James L. Green)说道。“过于令人兴奋了!勇于攀上一颗彗星,过于不可思议了!Within the hour, though, a worrisome caveat came to light.但是,还将近一小时,就经常出现了令人担忧的警告。

“It’s not only complicated to land there,” Dr. Ulamec said in a later news conference. “It’s also, as it appears, very complicated to understand what has happened.”“简单的不仅是在那里降落,”奇拉米克博士在随后的新闻发布会上说道。“要解读再次发生了什么状况或许也非常复杂。


”Two harpoons that should have fired into the comet did not, and the lander may not be secured to the surface. Dr. Ulamec said fluctuations in the radio link and the generation of power by the solar panels suggested that Philae may have bounced off the surface before settling down again.本来应当有两个鱼叉承托装置升空到彗星,但却没升空,因此着陆器有可能没抓牢彗星表面。奇拉米克博士说道,从波动的无线电联系以及太阳能电池板的发电状况来看,“菲莱”有可能从彗星表面声浪过来,然后再度降落。“Maybe today we didn’t just land once, we even landed twice,” Dr. Ulamec said.“或许今天我们不只降落了一次,有可能降落了两次,”奇拉米克博士说道。As expected, the Rosetta orbiter moved out of the line of sight of Philae, breaking radio communications.正如预期的那样,“罗塞塔”轨道飞行器移动到”菲莱”的联系范围之外,无线电通信中断了。

The orbiter is to re-establish the radio link in the next day, and mission managers hope then to better understand the stability of Philae’s footing.轨道飞行器将在第二天新的创建无线电联系,该任务的负责人期望预计可以更佳地理解“菲莱”基脚的稳定性。Nonetheless, the lander and its 10 instruments have begun 64 hours of scientific operations before its batteries drain. Solar panels will recharge the batteries, allowing intermittent operations over the coming months, about an hour every two days.尽管如此,着陆器及其10台仪器早已开始积极开展科学任务,在电池电量消耗之前,可以运转64小时。

电池将由太阳能电池板电池,因此在未来数月内,它们每两天不会展开大约一小时的间断性运作。The landing culminated a tense day as Rosetta maneuvered to the correct position to let Philae go — moments of celebration were interspersed with long, quiet stretches of waiting.在这紧绷的一天中,“罗塞塔”移动到准确的方位,让“菲莱”瓦解了它,而降落彗星表面是这一天的高潮——人们庆典了这些时刻,其间则穿插着漫长、静默的等候。The operation proceeded despite a few small glitches and one potential showstopper problem: failure of a thruster that was to fire after touchdown to press the lander against the comet’s surface. A pin was supposed to break a wax seal on the gas tank, but repeated attempts did not succeed.尽管不存在一些小犯规和一个有可能引发困难的问题,任务之后展开。

一个推进器失灵了,它本来不会在降落后升空,把“菲莱”力在彗星表面上。一个销钉本来应当关上燃气罐的一个蜡封,但多次尝试都没顺利。Without the thruster, the washing-machine-size Philae would have to rely on ice screws on its landing legs and the harpoons to anchor it to the comet. The thruster, which was to shoot a stream of nitrogen gas, was intended to counteract not just the possibility of Philae bouncing off the surface but also the upward kick from the firing of the harpoons.如果没那个推进器,洗衣机大小的“菲莱”就不能依赖降落装置上的冰锥和鱼叉来抓牢彗星表面。这个推进器本来应当喷气氮气气流,以便避免“菲莱”弹离彗星表面的可能性,并且抵销鱼叉升空时的上发动机。


Mission managers decided to proceed because there was no way to repair it.负责人要求在继续执行任务,因为这些问题无法解决问题。Philae detached on schedule, for a seven-hour descent.“菲莱”按计划展开了分离出来,迫降持续了7个小时。There was some worrying a couple of hours later when the lander was about 10 minutes late in re-establishing communications with the orbiter.几个小时后,又出有了一件让人忧虑的事情:着陆器与轨道飞行器新的创建通信联系时晚了大约10分钟。

Mission managers could not do anything; the readings they saw on their computer screens reflected what had occurred 28 minutes earlier — the time it took a radio signal to travel the 316 million miles from Rosetta to Earth.负责管理人们没有办法,不能等着;他们在电脑屏幕上看见的读数,是28分钟之前收到的——无线电信号从3.16亿英里之外的”罗塞塔”传输到地球必须28分钟。But soon they received photos — a blurry image of Rosetta’s solar array taken by Philae about 50 seconds after separation, and then a sharper image by Rosetta of the descending Philae.但迅速,他们接到图像——“罗塞塔”的太阳能电池阵列的模糊不清图像,“菲莱”在分离出来大约50秒后,把它拍电影了下来;然后接到了更加明晰的图像,是“罗塞塔”摄制的“菲莱”正在迫降的场面。

“We see the lander going down on the right track,” said Andrea Accomazzo, the flight director.“我们看见着陆器在准确的轨道上迫降,”此次飞行中的负责人安德烈·埃克马索(Andrea Accomazzo)说道。For now, Philae is working, and the instruments have already sent back some images and data. But if it is not anchored, Philae may not operate as long as hoped — the original goal was next March — as emissions of dust and gas grow as the comet moves nearer to the sun.目前,”菲莱”正在工作,仪器早已传回了一些图像和数据。但是,如果没抓牢彗星表面,“菲莱”的工作时间有可能比预期的短——原计划它不会工作到明年3月——因为彗星更为附近太阳时,灰尘和气体不会溶解。

Even if the lander cannot complete the full mission, managers have said, Rosetta will still be a resounding success. Planetary scientists have never looked at a comet so close up for so long.负责人说道,即使这个着陆器无法已完成全部任务,“罗塞塔”也仍是一个巨大成功。行星科学家们未曾如此近距离地观赏一颗彗星如此之幸。