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微小卫星协助预测地球气候

2014-01-24    来源:voanews    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

The difference between the amount of energy the Earth receives from the sun and the energy it radiates back to space affects whether our planet's climate warms or cools. For now, nobody can measure that temperature difference precisely, but scientists at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, in Maryland, plan to change that, using an array of small, inexpensive satellites called ‘cubesats’.

地球从太阳获得的能量和地球反射到宇宙中的能量是不同的。这两种能量的差别决定地球大气的温度是上升还是下降。现在,还没有人能测量这两种能量的确切数字。但是美国约翰-霍普金斯大学应用物理实验室的科学家计划改变这种状况。他们将适用一系列微小的廉价卫星来测量这些能量。

A cubesat is not much larger than a loaf of bread, but provides a compact orbiting home for a host of sensors and instruments.

新的卫星只有一条长面包这么大。却能把一系列传感器和仪器送到地球轨道上。

Scientific breakthroughs over the past decade have made it possible to build cheaper and lighter satellites that can still hold all of the equipment of much larger spacecraft - communications, navigation and power generators, along with the payload for their assigned task.

过去十年的科技突破让人类能够建造更廉价更轻便的卫星,却能够携带体积比较大的太空通讯、导航设备和发动机,以及其他完成使命需要的装备。

Orbiting cubesats

The Applied Physics Lab has sent two cubesats into orbit, and they are proving to be so versatile that more launches are already planned.

应用物理实验室已经把两枚新型卫星送入轨道。它们的功能如此之多,实验室计划送更多同类卫星上天。

Bill Swartz is the leading scientist of a project called RAVAN that will use cubesats to better predict the Earth’s changing climate. “This would be used to measure what scientists believe to be a small imbalance between the incoming solar and outgoing, reflected and emitted radiation from the Earth that will drive future climate,” he said.

斯瓦兹是RAVAN项目的负责人。他们将使用新型卫星更好的预测地球的气候变化。斯瓦兹说:“我们将测量科学家估计的地球获得日光能量和地球反射能量的差别,这一差别是地球未来气候变化的根本动因。”

Swartz said the main sensor, called the radiometer, will be built from one of the blackest materials known - carbon nanotubes.

斯瓦兹说,主要的传感器叫辐射测量计,它是用地球上最黑的物质碳纳米管作的。

“One of the nice things about this technology is: It’s very black, and if we’re trying to measure the radiation being emitted or reflected from the earth we want a very, very black substance,” he said.

斯瓦兹说:“这种技术的一个好处是,测量计很黑,为了测量地球获得和反射的幅射线,我们需要非常黑的物体。”

Nanotech device

The first RAVAN cubesat will be launched next year to see how the nanotube device works.

第一枚新型卫星将在明年升空。测试碳纳米管是否灵验。

“So, hopefully, within the next couple of years we will have raised the so-called technical readiness level of the carbon nanotube absorber that’s used in the spacecraft and some other key elements of that technology. And that would then be available for a future mission,” said Swartz.

斯瓦兹说:“希望在未来两年,我们能提高部署在太空中的碳纳米管吸热功能的备用水平,以及这种技术的其他关键因素。然后就能把它用于未来的使命了。”

The first satellite will be positioned between 550 and 750 kilometers above the Earth, allowing it to monitor the entire planet.

第一枚卫星将部署在地球上空550公里到750公里之间。这样它就能监测整个地球。

Later, a whole constellation of 30 to 40 cubesats will simultaneously register the radiation from all points on Earth, day side and night side, helping to answer the question that affects us all: what is the long-term future of our planet’s climate?

过一段时间,再部署30到40枚卫星,同时记录地球各个部分的能量情况。它们将监测朝向太阳和背对太阳的地区。帮助我们回答那些影像全人类的问题:地球未来的长期气候变化会是怎样的?(voanews)



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