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SSS 2011-02-01

时间:2011-03-04 03:33来源:互联网 提供网友:si3574   字体: [ ]
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    (单词翻译:双击或拖选)

This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m John Matson, Got a minute?

Imagine a pinball machine on multi-ball mode—only the balls are the size of planets. The early solar system was such a rough-and-tumble place.

That chaotic1 environment produced the occasional literally2 Earth-shattering collision. The moon, for instance, is believed to have formed from debris3 stirred up by a Mars-size object careening into our young planet.

Now, new research indicates that Pluto4 may have suffered a similar fate. According to planetary scientist Robin5 Canup, all three of Pluto’s satellites could trace back to a single impact.

An impact has long been suspected for the birth of Charon, the largest Plutonian moon, but Canup ran impact simulations to show that Nix and Hydra6, two much smaller satellites discovered in 2005, may be debris from the same collision. Her study appears in The Astronomical7 Journal.

A simulated low-speed crash between comparably sized planetoids yields a Pluto and a Charon, plus an icy debris disk that could coalesce8 into a Nix and a Hydra. That means that the small satellites should still be pretty icy—a prediction that may be tested as soon as 2015, when NASA’s New Horizons probe reaches the area. If the probe finds that Nix and Hydra are mostly ice, it'll show Canup’s simulation to be a smashing success.


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1 chaotic rUTyD     
adj.混沌的,一片混乱的,一团糟的
参考例句:
  • Things have been getting chaotic in the office recently.最近办公室的情况越来越乱了。
  • The traffic in the city was chaotic.这城市的交通糟透了。
2 literally 28Wzv     
adv.照字面意义,逐字地;确实
参考例句:
  • He translated the passage literally.他逐字逐句地翻译这段文字。
  • Sometimes she would not sit down till she was literally faint.有时候,她不走到真正要昏厥了,决不肯坐下来。
3 debris debris     
n.瓦砾堆,废墟,碎片
参考例句:
  • After the bombing there was a lot of debris everywhere.轰炸之后到处瓦砾成堆。
  • Bacteria sticks to food debris in the teeth,causing decay.细菌附着在牙缝中的食物残渣上,导致蛀牙。
4 Pluto wu0yF     
n.冥王星
参考例句:
  • Pluto is the furthest planet from the sun.冥王星是离太阳最远的行星。
  • Pluto has an elliptic orbit.冥王星的轨道是椭圆形的。
5 robin Oj7zme     
n.知更鸟,红襟鸟
参考例句:
  • The robin is the messenger of spring.知更鸟是报春的使者。
  • We knew spring was coming as we had seen a robin.我们看见了一只知更鸟,知道春天要到了。
6 hydra Fcvzu     
n.水螅;难于根除的祸患
参考例句:
  • Let's knock down those hydras and drive them to the sea!让我们铲除祸根,把他们赶到大海去!
  • We may be facing a hydra that defies any easy solution.我们也许正面临一个无法轻易解决的难题。
7 astronomical keTyO     
adj.天文学的,(数字)极大的
参考例句:
  • He was an expert on ancient Chinese astronomical literature.他是研究中国古代天文学文献的专家。
  • Houses in the village are selling for astronomical prices.乡村的房价正在飙升。
8 coalesce oWhyj     
v.联合,结合,合并
参考例句:
  • And these rings of gas would then eventually coalesce and form the planets.这些气体环最后终于凝结形成行星。
  • They will probably collide again and again until they coalesce.他们可能会一次又一次地发生碰撞,直到他们合并。
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