The harpoon that clears space junk 清理太空垃圾的 「魚叉」 捕捉器

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本集內容

The harpoon that clears space junk 清理太空垃圾的 「魚叉」 捕捉器

學習要點

有關 「space 太空」 的詞彙

邊看邊答

What is thought to have cracked the window on the International Space Station?

文字稿

This is the moment a harpoon was fired in space striking a target almost dead centre. It was filmed 400km above the Earth. It’s the latest experiment from the RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft. Led by Surrey University, it’s a mission that’s testing out the technologies that could clean up space junk.

這是 「魚叉」 捕捉器在太空中發射後幾乎正中靶心的瞬間。這個片段是在地表上空 400 千米處拍攝的,展現了利用 RemoveDEBRIS 航天器進行的最新試驗。由英國薩裡大學帶領開展的這項任務,測試這種可用於清除太空垃圾的技術。

Katie Bashford, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited
It was absolutely a success. And the goal of the experiment was to hit the target. And that’s what we did. It’s important because there’s so much debris up in space – from spacecraft that are no longer operational to bits of rocketbody. We really need to start clearing some of this debris out the way to make way for new spacecraft.

凱蒂‧巴什福德 薩裡衛星技術有限公司
「試驗非常成功。實驗的目的是擊中目標,而且我們做到了。試驗意義重大,因為太空中有太多碎片 — 從停運的航天器到火箭機身的碎片,不計其數。我們真得好好地清理一下這些碎片,為新的航天器騰出地方。」

Space is becoming increasingly cluttered. It’s estimated that there are now nearly 8,000 tonnes of debris with 800,000 pieces the size of a marble or bigger. And each piece has the potential to do some serious damage.

太空變得越來越雜亂不堪。據估計,宇宙中現有近 8000 噸碎片,其中約有 80 萬塊碎片的大小相當於或大於玻璃彈球的體積。而每一個碎片都有可能造成嚴重的破壞。

In 2016, this crack in the window of the International Space Station was thought to have been caused when a tiny fleck of paint hit it. Bigger objects could do even more harm.

2016年,國際空間站窗戶上的這道裂痕被認為是由一個微小的油漆斑點擊中而造成的。更大的物體可能會造成更嚴重的危害。

Scientists are particularly worried about a European satellite the size of a double-decker bus that stopped working in 2012. It’s now threatening other satellites in its path and needs to be removed from its orbit.

科學家們尤其對一顆體積相當於一輛雙層巴士的歐洲人造衛星而感到擔憂,它在 2012 年停止運行。現在,它給飛行前方的其它人造衛星造成了威脅,所以需要被移出軌道

Last year, the RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft also tested a net, proving it could catch a passing satellite. It’s the first mission to try and address this problem. And it’s also used its on-board cameras to track a tumbling target – essential for hunting down any rogue space litter.

去年,航天器 RemoveDEBRIS 還測試了一張太空 「捕網」,並證明它能捕捉一個經過的人造衛星。這是第一個嘗試解決太空垃圾問題的任務。此外,它還利用機載攝像機成功地跟蹤了一個翻滾的目標,這對追捕任何離軌的太空垃圾來說至關重要。

Its final test will be in the coming weeks. It’s set to burn up as it returns to Earth, preventing it from becoming a piece of space junk itself. The hope is now that future missions can be scaled up so the celestial deep clean can begin.

它的最終測試將在未來幾週內進行。飛船已被設定好在返回地球的途中自燃,以避免自身也淪為一塊太空垃圾。科學家們寄希望於擴大未來太空任務的規模,這樣就可以開始做一次深層太空大掃除了。

詞彙

mission 太空任務

space station 空間站

satellite 人造衛星

orbit 軌道

celestial 太空的

問題答案

A tiny fleck of paint is thought to have cracked the window.