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21世纪大学英语读写教程第三册 Unit9

时间:2006-02-21 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:yxdzgd5   字体: [ ]
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Unit 9

Text A

Pre-reading Activities

1. As you listen to the conversation, note down the answers to the following questions:
What is the destination of the mission that's just been approved? _____
What is the mission expected to cost? ______
Who lives in that neighborhood? ______
What does the speaker think would be a better use for the money? _____
2. Do you know the answer to the last question asked in the dialog?

Space Politics

It is expected that the discovery of possible life-forms from the planet Mars will revive public interest in space exploration. But is public support for the international space effort necessary, given that politicians seem determined1 to press ahead with it anyway?

The race to the moon, which was won by the Americans in 1969, was driven almost entirely2 by politics. The rivalry3 between the U.S. and the former Soviet4 Union meant that the two countries were determined to be the first to put a man on the moon. President John F. Kennedy promised that America would win this race and, as one of the most popular presidents in American history, he inspired a nation to think of space exploration as the ultimate test of America's superiority over her Soviet enemy.
America's success as the first nation to reach the moon, coupled with continuing Cold War rivalry, created much public support for the space programme and Washington was able to fund many more missions. During the 1970s, the moon was visited again, unmanned missions were sent to Mars and, for the first time, man-made craft were put on paths that would take them out of the solar system.
But, by the 1980s, public support for space exploration was declining. It faded almost entirely after the Challenger space shuttle disaster of 1986, and the U.S. government was under pressure to scale back its space programme. Politicians reacted by demanding cuts in spending, which put the future of many space missions in doubt.
In Russia, funding was also a problem. The end of the Soviet Union meant the country could no longer afford to sustain its space programme. In fact, spending became so tight that there was often not enough money to bring home astronauts working on the country's Mir space station.
But, in the last few years, politicians seem to have changed their attitude to space exploration, even though there is little evidence that the public have. New missions to Mars are planned, and plenty of money is being spent on other extraterrestrial activities. Last year, for instance, the U.S. spent more on space research and development than on any other area of research, except health and the military.
And spending is likely to increase in the coming years: currently, the National Aeronautics5 and Space Administration (NASA) is planning a number of missions to Mars, and it is pressing ahead with the most expensive space-exploration project ever undertaken — the International Space Station. (Three years ago, this project — a collaboration6 between the U.S., Canada, Russia, Europe and Japan — came within one vote of being canceled by the American House of Representatives.)
And the Americans are not the only ones spending huge sums on space exploration. The Europeans, Canadians and Japanese are expected to spend $9 billion on their share of the space station, and Europe has already spent huge sums developing its Ariane rockets, the most recent of which — Ariane 5 — blew up shortly after it was launched. The Russians, too, claim they are committed to supporting the International Space Station — an expense that country seems ill able to afford.
So, if there is little public support for space exploration, where does the impetus7 to fund these activities come from? Promoting the cause of science is one possible answer. But recently there has been considerable controversy8 over whether projects like the International Space Station have enough scientific value to merit the billions that have been and will be spent on it.
NASA's reasons for building the space station are "to develop new materials [and] technologies that will have immediate9, practical applications". However, for such research to be worthwhile, NASA needs private companies to develop (and help pay for) extraterrestrial research. Unfortunately, the cost of sending anything into orbit is so high that most private companies favour improving techniques on Earth. Significantly, NASA has so far not managed to get any substantial private investment to manufacture products in space.
The result is that the station seems, at present, to have only one concrete objective: research into how people can live and work safely and efficiently10 in space. But how important is this research? And can it possibly justify11 the cost of this huge orbiting laboratory?
The only purpose of studying how humans live and work in space would be to prepare for long-term space missions. At present, none are planned, and this seems unlikely to change in the near future. The main reasons for this are the costs. A manned mission to our nearest planetary neighbour Mars, for example, would cost around $400 billion. This is $50 billion more than Russia's present Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
And even if one accepts that this research is important, can it justify building a space station the size of 14 tennis courts, at a cost which is eventually expected to exceed $100 billion? Given the shortage of funds in many other areas of scientific research, it would seem not.
So why build it? There are good political reasons for doing so. It will provide work for the thousands of unemployed12 defence workers who depended on the Cold War for their jobs, and who make up a substantial proportion of voters in both Russia and the U.S. It will also help keep American/Russian ties strong — another reason NASA believes the space station is a good investment. (Critics argue that there are far cheaper ways to keep the U.S. and Russia on good terms.)
And then there is the legacy13 of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall may have fallen, but NASA and the U.S. government still seem to believe in the ideal of one nation's superiority in space. Indeed, NASA describes the space station as "a powerful symbol of U.S. leadership".
It seems that the world's politicians are caught in a timewarp. They still believe, as they did in the 1960s, that man must conquer space in order to prove he is master of his surroundings. If only it weren't so expensive.
(1002 words)

New Words

* rivalry
n. active competition between people 竞争;对抗

craft
n. 1. (pl. unchanged) a boat, ship, aircraft, etc. 小船;船;飞机;飞行器
2. skill and care in doing or making sth. 工艺;手艺
3. a trade or profession requiring skill and care (需要特种手艺的)行业;职业
4. 诡计;手腕

* shuttle
n. 航天飞机
v. go from one place to another 穿梭往返

extraterrestrial
a. happening, existing or coming from somewhere beyond Earth 地球(或其大气圈)外的;行星际的;宇宙的

military
a. of or for soldiers or an army 军事的
n. (the ~ ) soldiers or the army; the armed forces 军人;军队;武装部队

aeronautics
n. the scientific study or practice of constructing and flying aircraft 航空学

space exploration
n. 外层空间探索

* collaboration
n. working together with sb., esp. to create or produce sth. 合作,协作

cancel
vt. order (sth.) to be stopped; make (sth.) no longer valid15 取消;废除

rocket
n. 火箭
vi. move very fast; rise quickly and suddenly 飞速前进;猛涨

* impetus
n. a force that encourages a process to develop more quickly 推动力;刺激

controversy
n. fierce argument or disagreement about sth., esp. one that is carried on in public over a long period 争论;争议

worthwhile
a. worth doing; worth the trouble taken 值得做的;值得花费时间(精力)的

orbit
n. a path followed by an object, eg. a spacecraft, round a planet, star, etc. [天]轨道
v. move in orbit round sth. 环绕(天体的)轨道运行

planetary
a. 行星的

gross
a. total; whole 总的;毛的

timewarp
n. (in science fiction) a situation in which people or things from one point in time are moved to or trapped in another point in time (科幻作品中)时间异常(或间断、暂停)

warp14
n. 1. a bend or twist 变形;翘曲
2. a fault or abnormality in a person's character 反常心理;乖戾

Phrases and Expressions

press ahead (with sth.)
continue doing a task or pursuing an aim despite difficulties, objections, etc. (不顾困难地)继续进行

coupled with
together with 与…一起;连同

scale back
reduce in size 按比例缩减,相应缩减

put sth. in doubt
make sth. uncertain 使某事物不确定

blow up
explode; be destroyed by an explosion 爆炸;炸毁

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
the annual total value of goods produced, and services provided, in a country 国内生产总值

be on good terms
have a good relationship 关系好

be caught in
be involved in 陷入,卷入

Proper Names

the Soviet Union
苏联(苏维埃社会主义共和国联盟,现已解体为独联体)

John F. Kennedy
约翰·F·肯尼迪(1917—1963,美国第三十五任总统[1961—1963])

the Cold War
a state of hostility16 between the U.S. and the USSR without actual fighting after World War II (第二次世界大战后为争夺世界霸权的)美苏冷战(时期)

the Challenger disaster
explosion of the spaceship "Challenger" in which seven people were killed, including a woman teacher who was the first non-astronaut to be invited on a flight into space 美国“挑战者”号航天飞机升空后73秒爆炸这一惨剧(1986)

Mir
(前苏联和现俄罗斯的)“和平”号空间站

the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA)
an agency of the U.S. government established to direct and aid civilian research and development in aeronautics and aerospace technology (美国)国家航空和航天局

the International Space Station
(多国合作的)国际空间站

the House of Representatives
(美国)众议院

Ariane
阿丽亚娜(欧洲航天局研制的火箭名)

the Berlin wall
柏林墙(1961年由东德政府修筑,1900年拆除)


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 determined duszmP     
adj.坚定的;有决心的
参考例句:
  • I have determined on going to Tibet after graduation.我已决定毕业后去西藏。
  • He determined to view the rooms behind the office.他决定查看一下办公室后面的房间。
2 entirely entirely     
ad.全部地,完整地;完全地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • The fire was entirely caused by their neglect of duty. 那场火灾完全是由于他们失职而引起的。
  • His life was entirely given up to the educational work. 他的一生统统献给了教育工作。
3 rivalry tXExd     
n.竞争,竞赛,对抗
参考例句:
  • The quarrel originated in rivalry between the two families.这次争吵是两家不和引起的。
  • He had a lot of rivalry with his brothers and sisters.他和兄弟姐妹间经常较劲。
4 Soviet Sw9wR     
adj.苏联的,苏维埃的;n.苏维埃
参考例句:
  • Zhukov was a marshal of the former Soviet Union.朱可夫是前苏联的一位元帅。
  • Germany began to attack the Soviet Union in 1941.德国在1941年开始进攻苏联。
5 aeronautics BKVyg     
n.航空术,航空学
参考例句:
  • National Aeronautics and Space undertakings have made great progress.国家的航空航天事业有了很大的发展。
  • He devoted every spare moment to aeronautics.他把他所有多余的时间用在航空学上。
6 collaboration bW7yD     
n.合作,协作;勾结
参考例句:
  • The two companies are working in close collaboration each other.这两家公司密切合作。
  • He was shot for collaboration with the enemy.他因通敌而被枪毙了。
7 impetus L4uyj     
n.推动,促进,刺激;推动力
参考例句:
  • This is the primary impetus behind the economic recovery.这是促使经济复苏的主要动力。
  • Her speech gave an impetus to my ideas.她的讲话激发了我的思绪。
8 controversy 6Z9y0     
n.争论,辩论,争吵
参考例句:
  • That is a fact beyond controversy.那是一个无可争论的事实。
  • We ran the risk of becoming the butt of every controversy.我们要冒使自己在所有的纷争中都成为众矢之的的风险。
9 immediate aapxh     
adj.立即的;直接的,最接近的;紧靠的
参考例句:
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
10 efficiently ZuTzXQ     
adv.高效率地,有能力地
参考例句:
  • The worker oils the machine to operate it more efficiently.工人给机器上油以使机器运转更有效。
  • Local authorities have to learn to allocate resources efficiently.地方政府必须学会有效地分配资源。
11 justify j3DxR     
vt.证明…正当(或有理),为…辩护
参考例句:
  • He tried to justify his absence with lame excuses.他想用站不住脚的借口为自己的缺席辩解。
  • Can you justify your rude behavior to me?你能向我证明你的粗野行为是有道理的吗?
12 unemployed lfIz5Q     
adj.失业的,没有工作的;未动用的,闲置的
参考例句:
  • There are now over four million unemployed workers in this country.这个国家现有四百万失业人员。
  • The unemployed hunger for jobs.失业者渴望得到工作。
13 legacy 59YzD     
n.遗产,遗赠;先人(或过去)留下的东西
参考例句:
  • They are the most precious cultural legacy our forefathers left.它们是我们祖先留下来的最宝贵的文化遗产。
  • He thinks the legacy is a gift from the Gods.他认为这笔遗产是天赐之物。
14 warp KgBwx     
vt.弄歪,使翘曲,使不正常,歪曲,使有偏见
参考例句:
  • The damp wood began to warp.这块潮湿的木材有些翘曲了。
  • A steel girder may warp in a fire.钢梁遇火会变弯。
15 valid eiCwm     
adj.有确实根据的;有效的;正当的,合法的
参考例句:
  • His claim to own the house is valid.他主张对此屋的所有权有效。
  • Do you have valid reasons for your absence?你的缺席有正当理由吗?
16 hostility hdyzQ     
n.敌对,敌意;抵制[pl.]交战,战争
参考例句:
  • There is open hostility between the two leaders.两位领导人表现出公开的敌意。
  • His hostility to your plan is well known.他对你的计划所持的敌意是众所周知的。
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TAG标签:   大学英语  读写教程  第三册  unit
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