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中国发射全球首颗量子通信卫星墨子号

更新时间:2016-8-17 11:32:50 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

China Launches Quantum Satellite in Bid to Pioneer Secure Communications
中国发射全球首颗量子通信卫星墨子号

BEIJING — China launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite from the Gobi Desert early Tuesday, a major step in the country’s bid to be at the forefront of quantum research, which could lead to new, completely secure methods of transmitting information.

北京——周二凌晨,中国从戈壁滩发射升空了全球首颗量子通信卫星。这是中国为争取站在量子研究最前沿而迈出的重要一步。量子研究可能会带来新的完全安全的信息传输方式。

Researchers hope to use the satellite to beam communications from space to earth with quantum technology, which employs photons, or particles of light. That type of communication could prove to be the most secure in the world, invulnerable to hacking. Scientists and security experts in many countries are studying the technology.

研究人员希望,通过量子技术,用这颗卫星将信息从太空传输到地球。量子技术会用到光子,也就是光的微粒。这种通信方式可能会证明是全世界最安全、最不易受黑客攻击的。很多国家的科学家和安全专家在研究这项技术。

The satellite is expected to circle the earth every 90 minutes after entering orbit at an altitude of about 310 miles, according to a report by Xinhua, the state news agency.

官方通讯社新华社的一篇报道称,在进入距地面约500公里高的轨道后,这颗卫星预计每90分钟绕地球一圈。

China’s many high-tech scientific endeavors, including its ambitious space program, have enormous backing from the central government. The country’s 13th Five-Year Plan, an economic blueprint that was announced in March, listed quantum technology as a focal point for research and development.

中国的很多高科技科研活动,包括其宏大的太空计划,得到了中央政府的大力支持。中国今年3月公布的有关经济发展蓝图的十三五规划纲要将量子技术列为一个研发重点。

Traditional communications satellites send signals using radio waves. But a quantum communication satellite uses a crystal that produces a pair of entangled photons whose properties remain entwined even as one is transmitted over a large distance. Messages could be sent by manipulating these properties.

传统的通信卫星使用无线电波发送信号。量子通信卫星用的则是一种结晶体,这种晶体会产生一对相互纠缠的光子。即便将其中一个传输到很远之外,它们的属性依然会纠缠在一起。可以通过控制这些属性来发送信息。

An article about the Chinese program published by the journal Nature in July said any tinkering with quantum communications would be detectable, which is why the method is secure. “Two parties can communicate secretly,” the article said, and could be “safe in the knowledge that any eavesdropping would leave its mark.”

今年7月,《自然》杂志(Nature)发表了一篇文章,介绍中国这个项目。文中称,对量子通信做手脚的任何行为都会被发现,而这正是这种方式安全的原因。文章说,“双方能够秘密交流”,并且“有一种安全感,因为知道任何偷听都会留下痕迹”。

If China succeeds in its satellite launch, the article said, that could mean many more such Chinese satellites in orbit, “which will together create a super-secure communications network, potentially linking people anywhere.”

文章表示,如果中国的卫星发射成功,可能意味着中国会把更多的这类卫星送上轨道,它们“合起来将构成一个超级安全的通信网络,可能会将任何地方的人连接在一起”。

“But groups from Canada, Japan, Italy and Singapore also have plans for quantum space experiments,” the article said.

“但加拿大、日本、意大利和新加坡的团队也有量子太空实验计划,”文章说。

While the communication would be unbreakable, the data transmission rate would also, at least at first, be glacial, more akin to the telegraph than the internet.

尽管这种通信方式可能固若金汤,但数据传输速率起码一开始会极慢,更像电报而非互联网。

The Chinese researchers hope to use the satellite and quantum communications to establish secure transmissions between two ground sites. In theory, the satellite can provide the connection between them. The first major link in China would be between Beijing and Shanghai, and might open this year, according to Xinhua.

中国的研究人员希望利用这颗卫星和量子通信,在地面上的两个地点之间建立安全的信息传输。理论上,它能够提供两地之间的联络。新华社称,中国最先实现这种联络的可能是在北京和上海之间,或许会于今年开通。

The satellite, which weighs over 1,300 pounds, is called Quantum Experiments at Space Scale, or Quess, and nicknamed Micius, after a Chinese philosopher and scientist in the fifth century B.C.

这颗卫星逾重600公斤,名叫量子科学实验卫星,英文缩写为Quess,昵称墨子号。这是为了纪念公元前五世纪的中国哲学家、科学家墨子。

Pan Jianwei, the chief scientist of the quantum satellite project, told Xinhua earlier that the overall project involved building four ground stations for quantum communication and one station in space for experimental quantum teleportation.

量子卫星项目的首席科学家潘建伟早前对新华社表示,整个项目涉及修建四座量子通信地面站,一座空间量子隐形传态实验站。

A 2012 article in Nature said Mr. Pan was in his early 30s when, in 2001, he set up China’s first laboratory for manipulating the quantum properties of photons.

《自然》杂志2012年发表的一篇文章称,在2001年,30岁出头的潘建伟创建了中国首个研究如何控制光子的量子属性的实验室。

“The lucky thing was that, in 2000, the economy of China started to grow, so the timing was suddenly right to do good science,” Nature quoted him as saying.

“幸运的是,2000年,中国的经济开始起飞,因此进行高质量科学研究的时机突然到了,”《自然》杂志当时援引他的话报道。

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