Clouds of Venus too dry to support life, study finds 研究發現金星雲層太乾無法維持生命

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英國貝爾法斯特女王大學帶領的一支國際研究團隊認為,由於金星的雲層實在太乾燥,生命不可能存在於那裡。

It’s an audacious idea: the notion that microorganisms could be floating through the atmosphere of Venus. It would be extremely challenging, of course, because we know the planet’s clouds are dominated by corrosive sulphuric acid.

微生物可以漂浮在金星的大氣層間——這是個大膽的想法。當然,任何潛在的微生物都很難在此存活,因為我們知道該行星雲層中的主要成分是腐蝕性硫酸。

But the presence of phosphine needs to be explained. This is a gas that on Earth is associated with life – with microbes living in the guts of some animals, such as penguins.

但人們需要對金星大氣層中為什麼存在磷化氫作出解釋。在地球上,這種氣體與生命息息相關,與某些動物,比如企鵝腸道內的微生物有關。

This new study, however, finds that whatever the source of phosphine, it’s highly unlikely to be microorganisms – because there simply isn’t enough water in the clouds to support them.

然而,這項新的研究發現,無論磷化氫源自何處,都不太可能是微生物,因為雲層中根本沒有足夠的水來維持它們的生存。

Those who support the theory that tiny life forms may be floating around Venus, say we still don’t know enough about the atmosphere to rule it out. This knowledge gap could be filled by a flotilla of space probes which have just been approved to visit Venus over the course of the next decade.

那些支持微小生命體可能漂浮在金星周圍這一理論的人認為,我們對金星大氣層的瞭解還不夠,所以不能排除這種可能性。這個知識空白可以由數艘太空探測器的觀測結果來填補,這些太空探測器剛剛獲准在未來十年裡造訪金星。

詞彙表

audacious 大膽的
microorganisms 微生物
phosphine 磷化氫
guts 腸道
rule out 排除
flotilla 船隊(這裡指一組太空探測器)

閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題。

1. Why would it be challenging for the clouds of Venus to support life?

2. What is the gas phosphine associated with on Earth?

3. Why is the phosphine in Venus’s atmosphere unlikely to be produced by microorganisms?

4. What are being sent to Venus to answer some of the questions about the atmosphere?

答案  

1. Why would it be challenging for the clouds of Venus to support life?
It would be extremely challenging because the planet’s clouds are dominated by corrosive sulphuric acid.

2. What is the gas phosphine associated with on Earth?
Phosphine on Earth is associated with life.

3. Why is the phosphine in Venus’s atmosphere unlikely to be produced by microorganisms?
Because there simply isn’t enough water in the clouds to support them.

4. What are being sent to Venus to answer some of the questions about the atmosphere?
Space probes which have just been approved to visit Venus over the course of the next decade.