Women in space 太空女性

Have there been enough women in space? NASA is hoping the improve the gender-balance
A big step for womankind?

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雖然女性已經探索太空多年,但登上太空的男性人數仍高於女性。美國太空總署希望能組建一支性別平衡的隊伍。頂級太空工程師們認為第一個踏上火星的人應該是一名女性。本集《隨身英語》探討太空事業中缺少女性工作者的原因。

Vocabulary: space 詞彙: 太空

There’s no doubt that one of the greatest achievements by humankind is the exploration of space. Ever since cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to journey into space in 1961, scientists have been exploring it and pushing the boundaries to try and go further and discover things that are yet to be discovered. But probably the only thing that’s certain about this exploration into the unknown so far, is it’s been dominated by men.

Of course, in the past, women haven’t been excluded from space projects. Women have been involved on the ground at mission control – and behind the scenes women have worked as seamstresses, stitching vital spaceflight components. In fact, many of NASA‘s key missions would never have left the ground without them. And it was a group of black female mathematicians, recently depicted in a Hollywood movie called Hidden Figures, who helped NASA launch an American into space.

But this hasn’t been women’s only contribution. Back in 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to blast off into space. However, after that, space flight programmes were slow to employ women.  In the USA, NASA didn’t accept applications from women to become astronauts until 1978, and as missions to the Moon had ended by then, it meant Neil Armstrong’s arrival on the Moon in 1969 was ‘a giant step for mankind’ – and also an important step for a man.

But attitudes have moved on and leading engineers at NASA have said that the first person to set foot on Mars should be a woman. The space agency aims to have a gender-balanced workforce but can only achieve that if equal numbers of men and women train for science and technology careers. As Allison McIntryre, Chief of the NASA Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility, told the BBC: “My director is a women, my former division chief is a woman. We have female astronauts. We haven’t put a woman on the Moon yet. And I think that perhaps the first person to step on Mars should be a woman.”

A woman landing on Mars would be an incredible achievement for being a first for womankind and would, for some, be out of this world! It would certainly inspire a younger female generation by showing what is possible. For them, the thought of other planets being a men-only destination, would be an alien concept.

詞彙表

humankind 人類
exploration 探索
cosmonaut(前蘇聯的)太空人
push the boundaries      挑戰極限,突破極限
mission control 太空地面指揮中心
spaceflight components 太空組件
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) 美國國家航空暨太空總署
mission(太空)任務
mathematician 數學家
blast off(太空飛船等)發射
astronaut 太空人
the Moon 月球
set foot 踏上(某地)
Mars 火星
gender-balanced 性別平衡的
NASA Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility 美國太空總署飛行器模擬中心
out of this world 極好的
an alien concept 一個陌生的概念

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. What does ‘stitching vital spaceflight components’ mean in the article?

2. What did Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova do in 1963?

3. True or false: Female astronauts were not allowed on the Moon until 1978.

4. How can NASA achieve a ‘gender-balanced workforce’?

5. Who was the first man to set foot on Mars?

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The explorer was the first person ______ on the undiscovered Pacific island.

to set feet       to set foot       to set feets       to foot set

2. My trip to the Himalayas was ______. The scenery was awesome!

pushing the boundaries       an alien concept       out of this world                gender balanced

3. I can’t believe how many ______ there are in a smartphone.

components       missions       cosmonauts       component

4. We need a ______ audience to complete our market research questionnaire.

balance-gender       gendered-balance       gender-balanced       gender-balance

5. Stephen Hawking once said the he feared the development of full artificial intelligence, could spell the end of ______.

astronauts       humankind       missions       womankind

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. What does ‘stitching vital spaceflight components’ mean in the article?
It means sewing together important pieces of materials to be used on missions into space.

2. What did Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova do in 1963?
She became the first woman to travel into space.

3. True or false: Female astronauts were not allowed on the Moon until 1978.
False. NASA didn’t accept applications from women to become astronauts until 1978 and missions to the Moon had ended by then.

4. How can NASA achieve a ‘gender-balanced workforce’?
It says it can only be achieved by getting equal numbers of men and women to train for science and technology careers.

5. Who was the first man to set foot on Mars?
Nobody – man or woman – has landed on Mars yet!

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The explorer was the first person to set foot on the undiscovered Pacific island.

2. My trip to the Himalayas was out of this world. The scenery was awesome!

3. I can’t believe how many components here are in a smartphone.

4. We need a gender-balanced audience to complete our market research questionnaire.

5. Stephen Hawking once said the he feared the development of full artificial intelligence, could spell the end of humankind.

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BBC 英語教學