Liquid water ‘lake’ revealed on Mars 科學家在火星上發現液態水體

Water has been discovered on Mars. Does this mean there is life on this distant planet?
Is there life on Mars?

17

研究人員們發現了火星上存在液態水體的證據。這片被科學家認作是湖的水體位於該行星南極的冰蓋底部,橫跨約二十公里(十二英里)。

文字稿

Since Nasa’s Viking Mission tested Martian soil samples back in the 1970s, we’ve known the surface of Mars to be a desertinhospitable to life as we know it. But as missions to Mars focussed on what lies beneath the surface, a different picture has started to emerge.

自美國太空總署(NASA)在1970年代檢測了由維京號計劃從火星帶回的土壤以來,火星表面一片荒蕪且不適於生命生存這一道理就已為人熟知。但當火星勘探任務重點轉向地表之下的時候,就有另一番景象開始浮出水面。

This discovery of water beneath the planet’s South Pole is the result of radar echoes that were picked up by an instrument on a spacecraft that’s been orbiting Mars for 15 years. To stay liquid beneath the long-frozen surface of Mars, the researchers say this sub-glacial lake must have huge amounts of salts dissolved in it. 

科學家之所以在該行星南極發現了水是因為一艘宇宙飛船在環行火星十五年後,其艙內的儀器收到了來自水體的雷達回波。這些研究人員說,能在長期處於冰凍狀態的火星表面下保持液態,這片冰下湖泊內一定溶有大量鹽分。

Its extreme cold and saltiness would make it a very harsh environment for any living thing. But the lead researcher, Professor Roberto Orosei from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, said the existence of organisms there, was not impossible.

這片水體的極度低溫和極高的鹽分使任何生命都難以在這個極為嚴酷的環境中生存。但來自義大利國家天體物理研究所的首席研究員羅伯特·奧羅賽說在這裡發現有機體的存在並不是不可能的。

To search for life in this newly discovered lake though, scientists will need to send a robot that’s able to drill through the mile of ice encapsulating it.  But at least the teams looking for life on the Red Planet will now know where to start their search.

不過,為了在這片新發現的湖泊里尋找生命,科學家們需要派出一個機器人,它要能鑽入水體上方厚一英里(1.6公里)的冰蓋。但是對於這些在這顆紅色星球上尋找生命的研究團隊來說,他們現在已經知道應從哪裡開始他們的搜索。

1. 詞彙表

Martian 火星的
desert 荒漠
inhospitable 條件惡劣的,不適合生存的
emerge (真相)顯露、浮現
radar echoes 雷達回波
instrument 儀器
sub-glacial 冰川下的
harsh (環境)嚴酷的
organisms 有機體
robot 機器人
encapsulating 壓住、蓋住
the Red Planet “紅色星球”,指火星

2. 閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題 。 

1. How have missions to Mars changed over time?

2. How has this newly-discovered underground lake been able to stay liquid for so long?

3. What would a robot need to be able to do in order to see if life exists in the lake?

4. True or false? It has taken 15 years for a spacecraft to identify this water on Mars.

3. 答案

1. How have missions to Mars changed over time?
Missions to Mars have started to focus on what lies beneath the surface.

2. How has this newly-discovered underground lake been able to stay liquid for so long?
Researchers believe it must have huge amounts of salt dissolved in it.

3. What would a robot need to be able to do in order to see if life exists in the lake?
A robot would need to drill through a mile of ice encapsulating the lake.

4. True or false? It has taken 15 years for a spacecraft to identify this water on Mars.
True. A spacecraft that’s been orbiting Mars for 15 years has only just discovered water beneath the planet’s South Pole.

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