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EXPLORATIONS - Mars Exploration, Part 2

时间:2006-03-06 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:qwe   字体: [ ]
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EXPLORATIONS - Mars1 Exploration, Part 2
By Paul Thompson

Broadcast: Wednesday, February 04, 2004

(THEME)

VOICE ONE:

This is Shirley Griffith.

VOICE TWO:

 
An artists picture of a Mars Rover vehicle.
And this is Steve Ember with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today we complete our two programs about exploring the planet Mars. We tell about the two vehicles that have landed successfully on the Red Planet and are exploring the surface for evidence of water and life.

(THEME)

VOICE ONE:

People on Earth have always been interested in the planet Mars. Recently, that interest has increased because several successful spacecraft have been placed in orbit around Mars. These include the American space agency's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey2 and the European Space Agency's Mars Express.

Each of these spacecraft has increased our knowledge of Mars. Each has sent back huge amounts of scientific information and photographs of the planet. The National Aeronautics3 and Space Administration has given that information and photographs to the public on the Internet computer system. This too has increased public interest in Mars.

VOICE TWO:

Perhaps the most exciting event took place on January third. That is when the first of two Mars exploration vehicles successfully landed on the Red Planet. The first lander is named "Spirit." It came to rest in an area of Mars named Gusev Crater4. Millions of people used their computers to link with NASA's Internet Web site to see photographs sent back by Spirit.

VOICE ONE:

On January fifteenth, NASA scientists told Spirit to use its six wheels to move off the landing device. It did this successfully and rolled on to the surface of Mars. Excited NASA officials said Spirit was now ready to begin its task of exploring the surface of the Red Planet.

 
A rock examined by Mars rover, Spirit.
Scientists on Earth sent commands to have Spirit move to a rock that could be clearly seen in photographs. It did this successfully. Spirit continued to send back photographs and valuable information.

On January twentieth, scientists told the exploration rover to use one of its tools to study the soil near the rock. The next day, Spirit began having problems. It answered radio signals, but it would not send back scientific information.

NASA officials began to work to correct the problem with Spirit's computer. The part of the computer that stores information was not working correctly. On February first, NASA announced that Spirit's computer memory had been successfully repaired. It will begin scientific examinations of rocks later this week.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

On January twenty-fourth, the second rover device reached the surface of Mars. It too immediately began sending back photographs of a very different area of Mars. Public interest in Mars increased again.

The second vehicle is named "Opportunity." It landed in an area of Mars called Meridiani Planum. NASA scientists say Opportunity landed inside a large hole in the surface of the planet.

Photographs from Opportunity show several large formations of rock. The photographs clearly show this rock is below the surface. NASA scientists say the rock they see in the photographs is not like anything they have ever seen before.

On January thirty-first, Opportunity moved off its landing device and on to the surface of Mars. NASA officials say it will examine soil in front of it for the next several days.

 
A photo taken by Spirit of its own landing device.
Steve Squyres is a scientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is the chief investigator5 for science instruments on both Opportunity and Spirit. He says the areas where the two devices landed are very different. He says Opportunity landed in a very strange and wonderful area for scientific investigation6.

He says that scientists are extremely excited about the Meridiani Planum area. Mister Squyres says it is good that Opportunity landed in a hole. It will be able to explore areas below the surface of the planet without having to dig.

He also says the hole is not deep. This means when Opportunity is done exploring this important area it will be able to drive out of the hole with little or no problems. It will then be free to explore other areas.

VOICE ONE:

NASA officials say they have discovered and confirmed that Opportunity landed on an area of Mars that is rich in the mineral crystalline hematite. On Earth such hematite usually forms in the presence of water. Scientists want to know if the hematite on Mars was formed under water too.

Some evidence suggests that long ago the Meridiani Planum area of Mars was wet and held water. Opportunity will search for more evidence of water and any evidence that some kind of life could have existed in the area.

The Meridiani Planum where Opportunity landed and Gusev Crater where Spirit came to rest are very different. They were both carefully chosen from among one-hundred-fifty areas on Mars.

NASA officials were able to make the choice using photographs and information supplied by the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Both are in orbit around the planet.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The Spirit and Opportunity exploration vehicles carry special scientific equipment to learn many of the secrets of Mars. Both vehicles are exactly the same. Each weighs one-hundred-seventy-four kilograms. Each carries several cameras. But the cameras are used for different purposes.

One camera is used to see where the vehicle is going. It searches for a clear path that is free of major objects.

Another camera takes extremely detailed7 color photographs. It can take photographs in a complete circle around the exploration vehicle. One camera is inside a microscope that can see objects as small as a human hair.

Batteries provide power for the exploration rovers. The batteries store power they receive from special solar collectors that change sunlight into electric energy.

VOICE ONE:

The exploration rovers carry communications equipment that permits them to communicate directly with Earth. They can also communicate with the Mars Global Surveyor satellite in orbit around the planet. The Surveyor satellite can pass on information it receives from the rovers.

Each rover carries a special computer that can survive in the extremely cold temperature of Mars. The computers can also survive extreme amounts of radiation.

VOICE TWO:

The rovers each carry a science instrument called the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer. This instrument can be placed on rocks and soil to study the chemicals inside.

Another tool is called the Thermal8 Emissions9 Spectrometer. This tool studies minerals in rocks and soil from a distance by measuring the amount of heat radiation they release. It can also study the planet's atmosphere.

Devices called Capture-Filter Magnets can capture and hold dust that contains small amounts of iron. The other scientific instruments can then study this dust.

One of those instruments is the Mossbauer Spectrometer. This instrument is designed to study minerals that have large amounts of iron.

Spirit and Opportunity each carry a Rock Abrasion10 Tool. This is a powerful machine that uses electric motors to grind11 away the surface of rocks so the inside material can be inspected and studied. This is done with the microscope camera and other scientific instruments.

VOICE ONE:

Mister Squyres says all of the science instruments make the two vehicles into mechanical scientists. He says they use their color cameras and infrared12 instruments to study rocks and interesting soil at a distance. The vehicles then are commanded to go to the rocks or areas of soil that seem most interesting.

When they get to an interesting area they reach out with a mechanical arm that carries several tools. The arm carries the microscope, two instruments for identifying what the rock is made of and a tool for cutting into the rock.

Scientists say that Spirit and Opportunity will explore the surface of Mars for as long as ninety days. The rovers will be exploring the surface in an effort to find evidence of water on Mars. Water is extremely important to any future human exploration of Mars.

The two devices are trying to discover if we have not been alone in the universe. They are trying to answer the question: Is there any evidence that life once existed on the Red Planet?

(THEME)

VOICE TWO:

This Special English program was written by Paul Thompson. It was produced by Mario Ritter. This is Steve Ember.

VOICE ONE:

And this is Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week for another EXPLORATIONS program on the VOICE OF AMERICA.


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 Mars 4oSz63     
n.火星,战争
参考例句:
  • As of now we don't know much about Mars.目前我们对火星还知之甚少。
  • He contended that there must be life on Mars.他坚信火星上面一定有生物。
2 odyssey t5kzU     
n.长途冒险旅行;一连串的冒险
参考例句:
  • The march to Travnik was the final stretch of a 16-hour odyssey.去特拉夫尼克的这段路是长达16小时艰险旅行的最后一程。
  • His odyssey of passion, friendship,love,and revenge was now finished.他的热情、友谊、爱情和复仇的漫长历程,到此结束了。
3 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。
4 crater WofzH     
n.火山口,弹坑
参考例句:
  • With a telescope you can see the huge crater of Ve-suvius.用望远镜你能看到巨大的维苏威火山口。
  • They came to the lip of a dead crater.他们来到了一个死火山口。
5 investigator zRQzo     
n.研究者,调查者,审查者
参考例句:
  • He was a special investigator for the FBI.他是联邦调查局的特别调查员。
  • The investigator was able to deduce the crime and find the criminal.调查者能够推出犯罪过程并锁定罪犯。
6 investigation MRKzq     
n.调查,调查研究
参考例句:
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
7 detailed xuNzms     
adj.详细的,详尽的,极注意细节的,完全的
参考例句:
  • He had made a detailed study of the terrain.他对地形作了缜密的研究。
  • A detailed list of our publications is available on request.我们的出版物有一份详细的目录备索。
8 thermal 8Guyc     
adj.热的,由热造成的;保暖的
参考例句:
  • They will build another thermal power station.他们要另外建一座热能发电站。
  • Volcanic activity has created thermal springs and boiling mud pools.火山活动产生了温泉和沸腾的泥浆池。
9 emissions 1a87f8769eb755734e056efecb5e2da9     
排放物( emission的名词复数 ); 散发物(尤指气体)
参考例句:
  • Most scientists accept that climate change is linked to carbon emissions. 大多数科学家都相信气候变化与排放的含碳气体有关。
  • Dangerous emissions radiate from plutonium. 危险的辐射物从钚放散出来。
10 abrasion xypz3     
n.磨(擦)破,表面磨损
参考例句:
  • Diamonds have extreme resistance to abrasion.钻石极抗磨损。
  • This analysis is helpful to the research of derailment and abrasion machenism.该分析有助于脱轨和磨耗机理的探讨。
11 grind 9QHz9     
n.(常贬义)用功的学生,书呆子;vt.磨,磨碎
参考例句:
  • Would you please grind a pound of coffee for me? 请给我磨一磅咖啡好吗?
  • Do you find learning English a grind?你觉得学英语是一件苦差事吗?
12 infrared dx0yp     
adj./n.红外线(的)
参考例句:
  • Infrared is widely used in industry and medical science.红外线广泛应用于工业和医学科学。
  • Infrared radiation has wavelengths longer than those of visible light.红外辐射的波长比可见光的波长长。
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TAG标签:   exploration  mars  part
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