Space junk 太空垃圾

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報告顯示太空垃圾數量在不斷增加。在過去的幾十年裡,衛星和火箭被發射到太空中,隨之在太空中產生垃圾。本文介紹人們如何清理太空垃圾。

詞彙:space 太空

Many of us ponder what lies in outer space. When we look up at the night sky, we see stars, the twinkle of a moving satellite and occasionally a distant planet. But one thing we don’t see is the millions of pieces of junk filling up space. It’s this debris that’s causing problems for the existing technology that’s up there and which we rely on.

The amount of space junk is increasing. Over the last few decades, satellites and rockets have been launched into space, littering the cosmos as they go. It’s estimated there are now millions of discarded pieces of metal and other materials in orbit – everything from old rocket segments to accidentally dropped astronaut tools, and even flecks of paint. The fear is that if we don’t start taking this litter out of the sky soon, it will become a significant threat to active satellites. Nobu Okada, Chief Executive of Astroscale – a company working on ways to clean up space junk – says hitting 「even a small paint fleck… has enough power to blow up other satellites.」

Several ideas are being looked at to capturethe debris floating around in space. In 2018, the RemoveDebris spacecraft carried out various experiments, including testing a net that could snare a satellite and firing a harpoon at a target in orbit to try to catch it.

This year the UK Space Agency is helping to fund new approaches to tracking satellites and debris in space. Jacob Geer from UKSA told the BBC: 「Space surveillance and tracking is one of the key things we can do to keep safe those satellites we rely on now, and to make sure certain orbits don’t become inaccessible for future generations because there’s too much debris in them.」

It’s clear that a solution is needed so a celestial deep clean can take place. But looking to the future, like any litter problem, we need to look at ways of creating less – and that shouldn’t be the stuff of science fiction.

詞彙表

outer space 外層空間,太空
twinkle 閃爍,閃耀
satellite 人造衛星
junk 廢棄的舊東西,垃圾
debris 碎片,殘片
rocket 火箭
launch 發射
litter 丟棄垃圾
the cosmos 宇宙
orbit (天體圍繞行星或恆星運行的)軌道
segment (事物的) 部分,段
astronaut 宇航員
float 漂浮
spacecraft 宇宙飛船
snare 用羅網捕捉
space surveillance and tracking 宇宙空間監視跟蹤系統
celestial 天空的,天外的
deep clean 深層清潔
science fiction 科幻小說,科幻電影

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Give an example of something listed in the article that is space junk.

2. What is happening to the amount of junk in space?

3. Why might space junk be a problem for satellites currently operating in space?

4. According to Jacob Geer, why might too much space junk affect future generations?

5. True or false? Ideas to collect junk in space are only seen in science fiction movies.

2. 選擇意思恰當的單字或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. After the lorry crashed on the motorway, the police had to clear up all the _______ before they could re-open the road.

segments                       debris                               flecks                        snare

2. The government has _______ a new campaign to get people to eat more vegetables.

launching                       launches                           launched                   launch

3. We got up very early so we could _______ the sunrise on our cameras.

snare                             surveillance                       capture                     orbit

4. The house needed _______ after heavy rain led to the downstairs rooms being flooded.

deep clean                     deep cleaning                   deep cleaned            clean deep

5. The night sky was so clear in the desert, we could look up and watch the _______ stars.

twinkle                            celestial                            twinkling                    satellite

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。  

1. Give an example of something listed in the article that is space junk.
Old rocket segments, accidentally dropped astronaut tools, even flecks of paint.

2. What is happening to the amount of junk in space?
The amount of space junk is increasing.

3. Why might space junk be a problem for satellites currently operating in space?
A satellite might collide with the junk and blow up.

4. According to Jacob Geer, why might too much space junk affect future generations?
Too much space junk would make space/orbit inaccessible for future generations.

5. True or false? Ideas to collect junk in space are only seen in science fiction movies.
False. Ideas to collect junk in space are already being tried so it is not science fiction.

2. 選擇意思恰當的單字或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. After the lorry crashed on the motorway, the police had to clear up all the debris before they could reopen the road.

2. The government has launched a new campaign to get people to eat more vegetables.

3. We got up very early so we could capture the sunrise on our cameras.

4. The house needed deep cleaning after heavy rain led to the downstairs rooms being flooded.

5. The night sky was so clear in the desert, we could look up and watch the twinkling stars.