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时间:2006-04-18 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:cfgxj   字体: [ ]

NASA Unveils Plans for New Spaceship to Return Humans to Moon by 2018



The U.S. space agency NASA has released its plans for returning humans to the moon. It has set 2018 as the earliest launch date and developed a general design for a rocket that blends present technology with a look from the past.


The new spaceship will combine elements of the space shuttle launch system with a design reminiscent of Apollo craft that first landed astronauts on the moon in 1969. Crews of up to six people will be carried up to orbit in an Apollo-like command module1 atop a rocket similar to the one that boosts the shuttle. A larger version of the rocket would carry 25 metric tons of cargo2, about the same amount as a shuttle. The crew module would separate from its rocket, be propelled by shuttle engines, and return to earth with parachutes like the old Apollo capsules.


NASA administrator3 Michael Griffin says his agency did not set out to mimic4 the Apollo-era design, but mission requirements led it in that direction.


Michael Griffin: It's a significant advancement5 over Apollo. Much of it looks the same, but that's because the physics of atmospheric6 re-entry haven't changed recently. We really proved once again how much of it all the Apollo guys got right.


The new launch system will be bigger, with the ability to carry twice as many people in the command module as Apollo capsules, six instead of three. A separate landing vehicle would carry four astronauts to the moon's surface instead of two and allow them to stay up to a week, twice as long as Apollo landers.


Michael Griffin: Think of it as Apollo on steroids. We're talking about a capsule that weighs 50 percent more than the Apollo command module, but can sustain itself for six months in lunar orbit, offers quite a bit more capability7.


NASA designed the new launch system to replace the aging shuttles because President Bush called last year for the United States to return to the moon by 2020 as the first step in an exploration program that would eventually land crews on Mars. The shuttle is capable of only circling Earth. Mr. Griffin says the new rocket will also be able to do this, allowing it to continue servicing the International Space Station and space telescopes like the shuttle. The goal is to have it ready for this purpose by 2012, leaving a two year gap after shuttles are phased out in 2010.


The NASA chief points out that the United States will develop and operate the spacecraft alone, but says Washington welcomes partnerships8 with other nations to explore the moon's surface.


Michael Griffin: The quality of the activities that we perform on the moon, their extent, their nature, will be driven in our view largely by what nations elect to partner with us. The United States will be able to provide core transportation to and from the moon and we will hopefully combine that with the efforts of international partners to make a truly robust9 lunar exploration activity, something which is possible.


Some U.S. lawmakers are complaining about the new launch system's anticipated $104 billion price, measured in current dollars. But NASA says this is only slightly more than half of what Apollo development cost when factoring in inflation. Moreover, the agency is operating within a budget President Bush is not increasing for its new space mission, forcing it to hold down costs and to use existing shuttle rocket components10.


David McAlary, VOA news, Washington.



blend [blend] vt. 混和

reminiscent [remi5nis(E)nt] adj. 回忆往事的

metric [5metrik] adj. 米制的,公制的

parachute [5pArEFu:t] n. 降落伞

mimic [5mimik] vt. 模仿,摹拟

steroid [5stiErCid] n. [生化]类固醇


1 module iEjxj     
  • The centre module displays traffic guidance information.中央模块显示交通引导信息。
  • Two large tanks in the service module held liquid oxygen.服务舱的两个大气瓶中装有液态氧。
2 cargo 6TcyG     
  • The ship has a cargo of about 200 ton.这条船大约有200吨的货物。
  • A lot of people discharged the cargo from a ship.许多人从船上卸下货物。
3 administrator SJeyZ     
  • The role of administrator absorbed much of Ben's energy.行政职务耗掉本很多精力。
  • He has proved himself capable as administrator.他表现出管理才能。
4 mimic PD2xc     
  • A parrot can mimic a person's voice.鹦鹉能学人的声音。
  • He used to mimic speech peculiarities of another.他过去总是模仿别人讲话的特点。
5 advancement tzgziL     
  • His new contribution to the advancement of physiology was well appreciated.他对生理学发展的新贡献获得高度赞赏。
  • The aim of a university should be the advancement of learning.大学的目标应是促进学术。
6 atmospheric 6eayR     
  • Sea surface temperatures and atmospheric circulation are strongly coupled.海洋表面温度与大气环流是密切相关的。
  • Clouds return radiant energy to the surface primarily via the atmospheric window.云主要通过大气窗区向地表辐射能量。
7 capability JsGzZ     
  • She has the capability to become a very fine actress.她有潜力成为杰出演员。
  • Organizing a whole department is beyond his capability.组织整个部门是他能力以外的事。
8 partnerships ce2e6aff420d72bbf56e8077be344bc9     
n.伙伴关系( partnership的名词复数 );合伙人身份;合作关系
  • Partnerships suffer another major disadvantage: decision-making is shared. 合伙企业的另一主要缺点是决定要由大家来作。 来自英汉非文学 - 政府文件
  • It involved selling off limited partnerships. 它涉及到售出有限的合伙权。 来自辞典例句
9 robust FXvx7     
  • She is too tall and robust.她个子太高,身体太壮。
  • China wants to keep growth robust to reduce poverty and avoid job losses,AP commented.美联社评论道,中国希望保持经济强势增长,以减少贫困和失业状况。
10 components 4725dcf446a342f1473a8228e42dfa48     
(机器、设备等的)构成要素,零件,成分; 成分( component的名词复数 ); [物理化学]组分; [数学]分量; (混合物的)组成部分
  • the components of a machine 机器部件
  • Our chemistry teacher often reduces a compound to its components in lab. 在实验室中化学老师常把化合物分解为各种成分。
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