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美国太空总署火星2020研究为人类深空任务做准备

NASA's Mars 2020 to Prepare for Humans into Deep Space

美国太空总署火星2020研究为人类深空任务做准备

America's space agency is nearing completion of a vehicle that will search for evidence of past life on Mars. It is too cold and dry for life to exist on the surface of Mars today. But scientists hope the rover will find evidence of life that once lived on the planet.

美国太空总署即将完工一辆火星探测车,它将前往火星寻找远古生命的证据。如今的火星表面太冷太干燥,不适合生命生存。但是科学家希望这辆火星探测车能够在火星上找到过往生命的证据。

The rover will make the trip to the red planet later this year, and start preparing for NASA's mission to send humans into deep space.

这辆火星探测车将在今年晚些时候前往火星,并开始为美国太空总署的深空载人任务做准备。

NASA recently showed off its Mars 2020 rover. It has four wheels and is about the size of a car. The rover will be sent to Florida's Kennedy Space Center in three parts. It will be put together there. The vehicle's official name will be chosen soon.

美国太空总署最近展示了其火星2020探测车。它有4个轮子,尺寸跟一辆汽车接近。这辆火星探测车将被送往佛罗里达州的肯尼迪航天中心。它将在那组装完成。这台火星探测车的正式名称很快就能被定下来。

Launch is set for July. The following February, the rover will land in the 250-meter-deep Jezero Crater – a dry lake bed that is bigger than New York's Manhattan. Billions of years ago, it was a deep lake, but as the climate changed there, it dried up. Scientists believe that the crater holds many sediments in great condition—some may be 3.5 billion years old. They hope the rover will find fossils—remains of plants or animals that once lived on Mars.

发射安排在7月份。这辆火星探测车在接下来2个月将降落在大约250米深的耶泽洛陨石坑内,这是一块比纽约曼哈顿还大的干燥湖床。数十亿年前,它是一个深湖,但是随着气候变化它逐渐干涸。科学家们认为,该陨石坑的很多沉积物都保持在良好状态,其中一些沉积物可能存在了35亿年之久。他们希望火星探测车能够找到化石,也就是那些曾经生活在火星上的动植物的遗骸。

The trick, though, is that we're looking for trace levels of chemicals from billions of years ago on Mars, Mars 2020 deputy project manager Matt Wallace told Reuters. The rover will collect up to 30 samples, or small amounts, of soil. NASA plans to have them picked up and returned to Earth by a future spacecraft.

火星2020火星项目副经理马特·华莱士对路透社表示:“不过关键在于,我们是在寻找数十亿年前火星上微量的化学物质。”这台火星探测车将收集多达30种土壤样本。美国宇航局计划将它们收拾起来并由未来的航天器送回地球。

Mars 2020 research will also be very important for future human missions to the red planet. It is carrying equipment that can turn carbon dioxide, which is everywhere on Mars, into oxygen for breathing.

火星2020研究对于火星未来的人类飞行任务也非常重要。它所携带的设备可以将火星上无处不在的二氧化碳转化为氧气供作呼吸。

If successful, Mars 2020 will mark NASA's fifth Martian rover to carry out a soft landing. Important lessons were learned from the most recent Curiosity rover, which landed on the planet's surface in 2012. It continues to move and work on the Martian surface southeast of the Jezero Crater.

如果成功,火星2020将标志着美国太空总署火星探测器的第5次软着陆。美国太空总署从最近的好奇号火星探测车上学到了重要教训,好奇号于2012年降落在火星表面。它仍在火星表面东南部的耶泽洛陨石坑移动和工作。

The former Soviet Union is the only other country to land a rover on Mars. But it did not deploy. China and Japan have attempted to send orbiters around Mars. India and Europe's space agency have successfully sent an orbiter to the planet.

前苏联是另外唯一一个在火星上登陆火星车的国家。但是它并没有有效利用。中国和日本已经尝试发射绕火星轨道飞行器。印度和欧洲航天局已经成功将一颗绕轨飞行器送到了火星。

I'm Anne Ball.

我是安妮·鲍尔。

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