Buried lakes of liquid water discovered on Mars 火星上發現埋藏的液態水湖泊

320

科學家們在火星南極附近發現了三個地下湖泊。他們還證實了第四個湖泊的存在。

The chances of life surviving on the surface of Mars today are slim. The Red Planet is a desert, where temperatures routinely drop below -60C. But there might be places below ground where tiny organisms could scrape an existence.

火星表面現在存在生命的可能性很小。這顆紅色星球是一片沙漠,溫度通常低於零下60攝氏度。但在地下的某些地方,微生物可能會勉強生存。

Now, scientists have confirmed the presence of four lakes about a kilometre beneath the Martian south polar ice cap. These lakes are kept liquid by large amounts of dissolved salts, which lower water’s freezing point.

現在,科學家已經證實,在火星南極的冰蓋下約一公里處,存在四個湖泊。這些湖泊之所以保持液態,是因為大量的溶解鹽降低了水的凝固點。

Most life on Earth doesn’t tolerate such highly saline conditions, but a few specialised microbes called extremophiles do, thriving in the salty lakes of regions such as Antarctica. This raises the possibility that hardy organisms could survive today in the briny conditions below the Martian south pole.

地球上的大部分生命都無法忍受這種含鹽度極高的條件,但一些被稱為極端微生物的特殊微生物卻能忍受,它們在南極洲等地區的鹹水湖泊中繁衍生息。這就提出了一種可能性,即頑強的生物今天可以在火星南極以下的鹹水環境中生存。

詞彙表

slim 非常小的
organisms 微生物
scrape an existence 勉強生存
presence 存在
Martian 火星的
ice cap 冰蓋
tolerate 忍受
saline 含鹽的
microbes 微生物,細菌
Antarctica 南極洲
hardy 堅強的
briny 多鹽的

閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題。

1. How cold is it on the Red Planet?

2. What is helping to lower the lakes’ freezing point?

3. Why can extremophiles exist in some lakes in Antarctica?

4. Where are these lakes located on Mars?

答案

1. How cold is it on the Red Planet?
Very cold! Temperatures routinely drop below -60C.

2. What is helping to lower the lakes’ freezing point?
These lakes are kept liquid by large amounts of dissolved salts, which lower water’s freezing point.

3. Why can extremophiles exist in some lakes in Antarctica?
Extremophiles are able to survive in very salty conditions.

4. Where are these lakes located on Mars?
The four lakes are located about a kilometre beneath the Martian south polar ice cap.