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一、经济学人杂志双语文章摘要

假设发射一切顺利,接下来的成功将有赖“嫦娥五号”的四个组件跳好一场复杂的“芭蕾舞”。这些组件是服务舱、返回器、着陆器、上升器——美国阿波罗计划最早使用了这种结构。进入月球轨道后,着陆器和上升器将与由服务舱和返回器构成的在轨母舰分离,然后作为一个组合体着陆月球表面。着陆点位于一片名为风暴洋(Oceanus Procellarum)的广阔玄武岩平原的北部,是一片从未被踏足的区域。研究人员希望,从这里采集的岩石将会证实,月球上的火山活动远不止于持续到根据现有样本所估计的35亿年前。

二、经济学人杂志双语文章中英对照翻译

Mandate of heaven 天命

2020.11


Space exploration 太空探索
China plans to bring back the first Moon rocks for 40 years
中国计划取回40年来的第一块月球岩石样本

经济学人双语杂志

IN JANUARY 2019, when a Chinese spacecraft called Chang’e 4 visited the Moon, the mission broke new ground, figuratively speaking, by landing on the far side of that orb, which is perpetually invisible from Earth and thus also out of direct radio contact. This meant communications had to be relayed by a satellite which had been cunningly located for the purpose at a place where the interaction of the gravitational fields of Earth and Moon meant it could orbit a point in empty space.
二〇一九年一月,中国的“嫦娥四号”探测器造访月球。这一旅程可谓“开天辟地”,因为它是在月球的背面登陆,这一面在地球上是永远看不见的,也因此无法直接和地球进行无线电通信。这意味着必须利用中继卫星。这颗卫星被巧妙地置于环绕地月引力平衡点的运行轨道上。
China’s current lunar mission, by contrast, will break ground literally. Chang’e 5, successfully launched earlier this morning, is intended to drill two metres down into the Moon’s surface, retrieve about 2kg of rock, and then return this to Earth. If successful, it will be the first lunar sample-return mission since 1976, when a Soviet probe called Luna 24 sent back a mere 170g of the stuff. And it will be another step forward in China’s space programme.
相比之下,中国眼下的登月任务是真的要“辟地”了。“嫦娥五号”于今晨成功发射,计划在月球表面向下钻探两米深,取出约两公斤岩石样本带回地球。如果成功,这将是自1976年以来的首次登月采样返回任务,那一年苏联的“月球24号”(Luna 24)探测器仅带回了170克月岩样本。而这也将是中国太空计划向前迈出的又一步。
The Chang’e missions, named after a Chinese Moon goddess, have had their ups and downs. Chang’e 5 was originally scheduled for blast off in 2017, but the failure in July of that year of an otherwise-unrelated project that was, like Chang’e 5, using a Long March 5 as its launch vehicle, caused a delay. (Chang’e 4 used a different sort of launcher, a Long March 3B.) The “go” was finally given however. State media reported on November 17th that the rocket with Chang’e 5 on board has been moved to its launch pad at Wenchang space centre, on Hainan island.
以中国月亮女神的名字命名的嫦娥系列航天计划历经起落。“嫦娥五号”原定于2017年发射,但当年7月一个项目的发射失败造成了延误。那个项目原本与“嫦娥五号”无关,但和“嫦娥五号”一样使用“长征五号”运载火箭发射。(“嫦娥四号”用的是长征三号乙运载火箭。)不过,“嫦娥五号”最终获准“奔月”。中国官方媒体11月17日报道称,载有“嫦娥五号”的火箭运抵海南文昌航天中心的发射台。
Assuming the launch goes to plan, success will then depend on a complex ballet involving the craft’s four components. These are a service module, a return-to-Earth module, a lunar lander and an ascender—a configuration originally used by America’s Apollo project. Once the mission is in lunar orbit, the lander and the ascender will separate from the orbiting mother ship of service and return modules as a single unit and go down to the surface. The landing site is in the northern part of a vast expanse of basalt called Oceanus Procellarum, a previously unvisited area. Researchers hope rocks collected here will confirm that volcanic activity on the Moon continued until far more recently than the 3.5bn years ago that is the estimate derived from studies of currently available samples.
假设发射一切顺利,接下来的成功将有赖“嫦娥五号”的四个组件跳好一场复杂的“芭蕾舞”。这些组件是服务舱、返回器、着陆器、上升器——美国阿波罗计划最早使用了这种结构。进入月球轨道后,着陆器和上升器将与由服务舱和返回器构成的在轨母舰分离,然后作为一个组合体着陆月球表面。着陆点位于一片名为风暴洋(Oceanus Procellarum)的广阔玄武岩平原的北部,是一片从未被踏足的区域。研究人员希望,从这里采集的岩石将会证实,月球上的火山活动远不止于持续到根据现有样本所估计的35亿年前。
Once the new material has been gathered, which will take several days, the ascender will lift off, dock with the mother ship and transfer its haul to the return module. The service module will then carry the return module back to Earth, releasing it just before arrival to make a landing at a recovery site in Inner Mongolia, also used for China’s crewed missions, in December.
采集新样本要花几天时间,完成后上升器将升空,与母舰对接,把样本移至返回器内。然后服务舱将带着返回器飞回地球,在到达前释放返回器,让它于12月降落在内蒙古的一个着陆场,那里也用于中国的载人太空任务。
Digging into the lunar surface may, however, pose problems. InSight, an American rover now on the surface of Mars, has struggled to operate a drill nicknamed “the mole” that is designed to reach three metres below ground level. According to NASA, America’s space agency, this is because the mole has encountered clumpier regolith than its designers were expecting, causing it to bounce rather than burrow.
不过,钻探月球表面可能会出现问题。眼下停留在火星表面的美国探测器“洞察号”(InSight)搭载的钻头“鼹鼠”本来设计能下探火星地面以下三米,但实际操作时屡屡失败。据美国国家航空航天局(NASA)的说法,这是因为“鼹鼠”遇到的土层比设计者预期的更容易结块,使它被弹回,无法向下探挖。
If Chang’e 5 does manage to overcome such hazards and return samples to Earth, China has said little so far about which foreign countries, if any, will be granted access to them. But America is likely to be last in the queue. For the past couple of decades American governments of all stripes have been reluctant to co-operate with China in space-related matters, largely because of fears about giving away secrets useful for designing ballistic missiles. In space, as in so much else, the two powers are not-so-friendly rivals. China’s stated goal is to establish a crewed base near the Moon’s south pole, where water is available in the form of ice perpetually shielded from sunlight by crater walls. America has similar plans. Watch, as it were, this space.
假如“嫦娥五号”能克服这类风险,成功采样返回地球,而外国又能获准参与研究这些样本的话,会有哪些国家?到目前为止中国对此还没有太多表态。但美国很可能会排在最后。过去二三十年里,历届美国政府都不愿在太空项目上与中国合作,主要是担心泄露与弹道导弹设计相关的机密。就像在其他许多方面一样,这两个大国在太空里也不是那么友好的竞争对手。中国已经明确宣称的目标是在月球南极附近建立一个有人值守的基地,那里某些区域的阳光被环形山永久遮蔽,因此有水冰存在。美国也有类似的计划。那么,静观太空里的风云变幻吧。