NASA数据证实酷似地球的土卫六可能存在生命
2019-11-28 15:53:00


For the first time, scientists have mapped the whole surface of Titan, the largest moon around Saturn.(1)
科学家首次绘制了土星最大卫星土卫六的全表面地图。

The map confirms existing data showing that Titan has many Earth-like qualities that might be able to support life.(2)
该地图证实,现有数据表明土卫六拥有很多类似地球的特性,也许可以维持生命。

The data was collected by Cassini, a spacecraft operated by the U.S. space agency NASA.(3)
这些数据由美国国家航空航天局(简称NASA)的“卡西尼”号飞船收集。

The spacecraft studied Saturn and its moons from 2004 to 2017.(4)
该飞船在2004年至2017年对土星及其卫星进行了研究。

Astronomers used images and radar measurements from Cassini to create the geological map of Titan.(5)
天文学家用“卡西尼”号收集的图像和雷达测量结果绘制了土卫六的地质图。

The map shows Titan as a mixture of flat plains, hills and mountains, windblown sand areas, valleys and lakes.(6)
地图显示,土卫六上存在平原、丘陵、山脉、风沙区、山谷和湖泊。

The mapping operation is described in a report published in Nature Astronomy.(7)
《自然·天文学》期刊上发表的一篇报告描述了这一绘图过程。

Rosaly Lopes led the project. She is a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.(8)
罗萨莉·洛佩斯领导了这个项目。她是位于加利福尼亚州帕萨迪那的美国国家航空航天局喷气推进实验室的行星科学家。

Lopes told the publication that the many similarities between Earth and Titan make the Saturn moon a great choice for continued exploration.(9)
洛佩斯对该期刊表示,地球与土卫六之间有许多相似性,这使这颗土星卫星成为继续探索的绝佳选择。

"Titan has an atmosphere like Earth. It has wind, it has rain, it has mountains," Lopes said.(10)
洛佩斯说:“土卫六拥有的大气层与地球类似。土卫六有风有雨,还有山脉。

"It's a really very interesting world, and one of the best places in the solar system to look for life."(11)
这真是一个非常有趣的世界,是太阳系中寻找生命的绝佳场所之一。”

Titan is the only planet in our solar system besides Earth to have known bodies of liquid on its surface.(12)
土卫六是太阳系中除地球外唯一已知的表面有液体的星球。

But Titan's seas and lakes are filled with liquid methane rather than water.(13)
但是土卫六上的海洋和湖泊充满了液态甲烷而不是水。

Methane, a gas, behaves as a liquid on Titan because the planet is extremely cold.(14)
甲烷是一种气体,但在土卫六上呈现为液体状态,因为这颗星球极为寒冷。

At cold temperatures, methane goes through similar changes as rain on Earth.(15)
在低温下,甲烷会经历与地球上的雨水类似的变化。

It falls to the surface across the planet to form rivers and lakes and can then evaporate to form clouds again.(16)
甲烷落在土卫六表面各处,形成河流和湖泊,经蒸发后再次成云。

The map found that nearly two-thirds of Titan's surface is made up of flat plains, Nature reported.(17)
据《自然》期刊报道,地质图发现土卫六表面近三分之二为平原。

About 17 percent is covered in sandy hills shaped by the wind, mostly around the equator.(18)
约17%被风形成的沙丘覆盖,大多数沙丘位于赤道附近。

Unlike Earth, Titan's sand is made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen.(19)
与地球不同,土卫六上的沙子由碳、氢、氮和氧组成。

Around 14 percent of the surface is considered hilly or mountainous.(20)
其表面约14%被认为是丘陵或山区。

Seas and lakes filled with liquid methane cover an estimated 1.5 percent of Titan.(21)
据估计,充满液态甲烷的海洋和湖泊覆盖了土卫六表面的1.5%。

The liquid exists mainly closer to the planet's poles, while the equatorial areas remain drier.(22)
这些液体主要存在于靠近土卫六两极的地区,而其赤道地区则更为干燥。

Ralph Lorenz is a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.(23)
拉尔夫·洛伦兹是位于马里兰州劳雷尔的约翰·霍普金斯大学应用物理实验室的行星科学家。

He told the publication one of Cassini's most interesting discoveries "is that Titan is so diverse."(24)
他对《自然》期刊表示,“卡西尼”号最有趣的发现之一就是“土卫六如此多样”。

Lorenz added: "It's almost like a completely different world, and this systematic mapping marshals that diversity."(25)
洛伦兹还表示:“这几乎就是一个完全不同的世界,这一系统化绘图加强了这种多样性。”

Rosaly Lopes says organic materials — those containing carbon — in Titan's atmosphere are important for the growth of living organisms.(26)
罗萨莉·洛佩斯表示,土卫六大气层中的含碳有机物质对生物的生长至关重要。

"Organics are very important for the possibility of life on Titan,(27)
她说:“有机物质土卫六存在生命的可能性来说非常重要,

which many of us think likely would have evolved in the liquid water ocean under Titan's icy crust," she said.(28)
我们大多数人认为有机物很可能会在土卫六冰壳之下的液态海洋中进化。”

Scientists believe the mixing of organic material and liquid could have caused complex molecules to develop, or possibly life itself.(29)
科学家认为,有机物质和液体的混合可能会引发复杂分子的发展,或可能导致生命本身。

The search for possible life on Titan will continue when NASA launches its Dragonfly mission to explore the planet in 2026.(30)
美国国家航空航天局计划在2026年发射探索土卫六的“蜻蜓”飞行器,届时在该星球上寻找生命迹象的行动将继续进行。

Dragonfly is a drone, or pilotless aircraft.(31)
“蜻蜓”是一架无人机。

It is designed to capture images from above Titan as well as to land on the planet to collect data.(32)
该无人机计划在土卫六上空捕获图像,并着陆到其表面收集数据。

Dragonfly is not expected to arrive at Titan until 2034.(33)
预计“蜻蜓”无人机要到2034年才能抵达土卫六。

But when it does, Lopes and her team will be excitedly awaiting its findings.(34)
而当它到达时,洛佩斯及其团队会兴奋地等待它的发现。

"It is not only scientifically important but also really cool — a drone flying around on Titan," she said. "It will be really exciting."(35)
她说:“无人机在土卫六上飞行,这不仅在科学领域非常重要,同时也是件非常酷的事情。这真的会令人非常兴奋。”

I'm Bryan Lynn.(36)
布莱恩·林恩报道。


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