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揭开太空竞赛序幕的苏联流浪狗

更新时间:2017-11-12 12:52:10 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The stray dogs that led the space race
揭开太空竞赛序幕的苏联流浪狗

The engineers who sealed Laika into a narrow, windowless Sputnik 2 space capsule on 3 November 1957 knew it was the last time they would ever see her. Following the success of Sputnik 1 on 4 October, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had ordered a dog be flown within a month. But in the scramble to get the spacecraft ready in time, no-one had figured out how to get the animal back alive.

1957年11月3日,当工程师们把小狗莱卡(Laika)关进狭小无窗的"斯普特尼克2号"(Sputnik 2)飞船里时,他们很清楚这是见它的最后一面了。就在"斯普特尼克1号"于10月4日发射成功后,苏联领导人尼基塔·赫鲁晓夫(Nikita Khrushchev)要求在一个月内把一条狗送入太空。当人们紧锣密鼓争分夺秒地筹备这次航天发射时,没人考虑过如何让它活着回来。

“This was always going to be a one-way mission,” says Doug Millard, space curator at London’s Science Museum. “It was at the height of the Cold War and this was serious stuff, part of a struggle between the superpowers.”

"就是一场单程旅行,"伦敦科学博物馆太空展览负责人道格·米拉德(Doug Millard)说。"当时正值冷战高峰,这次航天发射是美苏两个超级大国之间太空竞赛的一部分。"

Once successfully in orbit, the world was told how Laika would survive a week in comfort, with plenty of food and water, before passing away painlessly. It emerged in 2002 that the dog had only lasted seven hours before dying of panic and heat exhaustion.

当时的人们得到的信息是:飞船顺利进入轨道,莱卡在飞船里平静地度过了一周时间,期间饮水和食物都很充足,然后在毫无痛苦的情况下死去。但直到2002年人们才知道,这条狗在飞船里只活了7个小时就死于惊恐不安和热衰竭。

Still, for the Soviet Union, the mission was another propaganda coup and space dog Laika became a national hero. And, by launching a sizeable 113kg (249lb) capsule with a live animal on board, it appeared the Russians were way ahead of the Americans when it came to space and missile technology.

然而,苏联照例把这次航天发射做成了另一场宣传秀,太空狗莱卡由此成为人所共知的英雄。成功发射一艘重达113公斤,搭载了活体动物的飞船进入太空意味着苏联在太空和火箭技术方面仍然保持着对美国的领先优势。

“You could argue that it had as big an effect as the first Sputnik,” says Millard. “It certainly compounded the impact on the United States – as it was so heavy, it confirmed the Soviets had the ability to put a nuclear warhead on a rocket and deliver it to the US.”

"可以想象,这次发射造成的轰动和'斯普特尼克1号'不相上下,"米拉德表示。"对美国施加了更大压力——飞船重量加大,表明苏联有能力向美国本土发射搭载了核弹头的远程导弹。"

The Soviet Union had been flying dogs in space since the early days of its space programme, when they were scrambling to reverse-engineer Wernher Von Braun’s captured V2s. The first flights were sub-orbital, sending the canines out of the atmosphere and back to Earth. Unlike Laika, most of the dogs survived.

苏联的航天计划从取得沃纳·冯·布劳恩(Wernher Von Braun)V2火箭后进行的反向工程开始。从最初开始,苏联就一直用狗做发射试验。第一次发射为亚轨道试验,将狗射出大气层并返回地球。与莱卡不同的是,参与试验的大多数狗都幸存了下来。

Whereas the Americans preferred to experiment on monkeys and chimps, the Russians chose dogs because they were easier to train, formed emotional bonds with humans and were readily available. All were female mongrels and, although some were donated, most were strays.

而美国人喜欢用猴子和猩猩做试验,而苏联人则选择了易于训练、与人类情感关系密切和容易获得的狗。他们选的都是雌性杂交犬,除了少量是来自捐献渠道外,大多数都是抓获的流浪狗。

“There was then a question of how to catch them,” says Millard. “You have this bizarre scenario of members of the space programme chasing round the streets of Moscow looking for likely dogs, and persuading them to be captured.”

"当时,如何抓狗是一个问题,"米拉德表示。"航天部门的职工在莫斯科大街上到处追逐合适的流浪狗,然后连哄带骗的让他们乖乖被抓,这个情景非常怪异。"

“They want the dogs to be healthy, so they can’t mistreat them,” says author Vix Southgate, who writes and illustrates children’s books on the space programme. “They’re given a name, their own kennel and they’re well fed – you want a dog that’s happy with what it’s doing and wants to please the people it’s doing it for.”

"他们让这些狗保持健康,所以不能虐待它们,"儿童航天读物作家威克斯·索斯盖特(Vix Southgate)说。"他们给每条狗都取了名字,还建了狗窝,改善了饮食——不仅要保持狗的心情愉快,还要考虑到大众的感受。"

The dogs were subjected to detailed medical tests and put through extensive training programmes, so they became comfortable with being strapped into space suits and confined in capsules. Most were flown in pairs, giving scientists the opportunity to compare data between two animals.

这些狗都接受了详细的医疗检查,并且进行了深入的训练,从而使它们适应穿上太空服、呆在狭小的飞船里的体验。大多数试验都是两条狗一起发射,从而让科学家们能够比较两条狗之间的数据差异。

Within three years, Soviet space dogs would again make history. On 19 August 1960, mongrels Belka and Strelka were blasted into orbit alongside two rats, a rabbit, fruit flies and plants.

三年内,苏联太空狗再一次创造了历史。1960年8月19日,杂交犬贝卡(Belka)和斯特里卡(Strelka)和两只大鼠、一只兔子、若干果蝇和一些植物乘坐火箭进入太空。

“The launch went well, all the medical data coming back from their spacesuits was fine and normal,” says Southgate, who is currently writing a book on the dogs. “But, by the time they got into orbit, neither of them was moving.”

"发射很顺利,从太空服回传的医学数据都很正常,"索斯盖特说,它目前正在写作一本关于这些狗的书。"但是在飞船进入轨道的时候,两只狗都没有任何移动。"

Then, during the 4th orbit, Belka started vomiting. “It was that which woke them both up,” Southgate says. “From the video recorded on board, you can see the dogs moving around and barking, medical data showed they were calm and not overly stressed.”

然后,当轨道飞行进入第四圈后,贝卡开始呕吐。"正是呕吐把它催醒,"索斯盖特说。"从舱内摄像机拍摄的画面上,你能看到这两条狗开始移动并吠叫,但医学数据显示它们很平静,并没有承受过大的压力。"

After 17 orbits, ground controllers fired the retro rockets and the dogs descended back to Earth. When the capsule was opened, Belka and Strelka appeared happy and unharmed by their experience.

绕轨道飞行17圈后,地面控制人员启动了返回火箭,这两条狗随后回到了地球。飞船舱门打开时,贝卡和斯特里卡的心情看起来都很不错,它们在太空飞行过程中没有受伤。

Within hours they were on the celebrity circuit. The dogs appeared on the covers of newspapers and were feted on TV chat shows.

几小时后,它们成为了万众瞩目的焦点,在报纸头版和电视脱口秀节目里风光一时。

“Their fame spread internationally – there were stamps, postcards, they were absolutely everywhere,” says Southgate. “It was quite phenomenal.”

"它们的名字超出了国界——邮票上、明信片上,无处不在,轰动一时,"索斯盖特说。

Then the story takes on a whole new dimension.

时代赋予了这些太空犬更大的意义。

In June 1961, two months after Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth, President John F Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev held their first joint summit in Vienna. By all accounts it was a difficult meeting. During dinner, however, Jackie Kennedy started talking to the Soviet leader about the space dogs.

1961年6月,就在人类历史上第一位宇航员尤里·加加林(Yuri Gagarin)进入地球轨道两个月后,美国总统约翰·F·肯尼迪(John F Kennedy)和苏联总理赫鲁晓夫在维也纳召开第一次联合峰会。从任何角度看,这都是一次针锋相对的不愉快会议。然而,晚宴期间,总统夫人杰奎琳·肯尼迪和苏联领导人谈起了太空狗。

“He mentioned that Strelka had had puppies, and she said you must send one of those puppies to me,” says Andrew Hager, historian in residence at the Presidential Pet Museum. “A few weeks later one of the puppies showed up at the White House with a little Russian passport.”

"他说,斯特里卡生下了崽,她说你必须给我一条,"总统宠物博物馆驻馆历史学家安德鲁·哈格尔(Andrew Hager)说。"几周后,一只带着苏联小护照的幼犬抵达了白宫。"

After being screened for surveillance bugs by the FBI, the dog – Pushinka – took up residence with the First Family. Although the President was allergic to dogs, Pushinka spent time with the children and became friendly – very friendly – with another White House dog, Charlie. The canine couple ended up having puppies. “I like to think of it as a Cold War romance,” says Hager.

在接受了FBI窃听器检查后,这只名为普什卡(Pushinka)的狗进入了美国第一家庭的生活。尽管肯尼迪总统对狗过敏,但是普什卡却依然与总统的儿女们相处甚欢,并且对另一条狗"查理"(Charlie)非常友好。这两条狗后来也生了幼崽。"这堪称冷战期间的一段佳话,"哈格尔说。

But the gift of Pushinka, he believes, had greater diplomatic importance and even helped prevent World War Three. “It’s more than just a gift, I think of Pushinka as being significant historically,” Hager says. “Kennedy and Khrushchev had this back-channel communication going on and exchanged several gifts during that time period.

这条名为普什卡的狗在外交上具有重大意义,甚至帮助避免了第三次世界大战。"它绝不仅仅是一份礼物,我认为普什卡在历史上具有重大意义,"哈格尔说。"肯尼迪和赫鲁晓夫之间的这条沟通渠道继续了下去,它们后来互换了好几次礼物。"

“That really helped them back down when it came to the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later,” says Hagar. “I like to think of Pushinka as part of the thought process as they were going through the missile crisis, and a reason why he didn’t listen to the hawks in the White House who wanted to bomb Moscow immediately.”

"一年后的古巴导弹危机期间,这条渠道帮助两位领导人冷静下来,"哈格尔说。"我猜导弹危机期间,正是由于普什卡的存在,肯尼迪总统才没听白宫里那些主张立即轰炸莫斯科的鹰派人物的话。"

Two of Pushinka’s puppies – nicknamed “pupniks” by the President – were donated to American children who wrote to Jackie Kennedy asking to look after the dogs. When Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Pushinka was given to a White House gardener and later gave birth to another litter of puppies.

普什卡生下的两只幼崽——肯尼迪总统称他们为"巴普尼克"(pupniks)被送给了写信给杰奎琳·肯尼迪要求养狗的美国儿童。肯尼迪总统1963年遇刺后,普什卡被送给了一位白宫花匠,后来又生了很多幼崽。

Hager has attempted to track down Pushinka’s descendants but, so far, has drawn a blank. “Certainly, it’s still possible there are descendants of these Russian space dogs out there in the United States,” he says.

哈格尔试图寻找普什卡后代的下落,但截至目前却一无所获。"在美国什么地方,肯定有这些苏联太空狗的后代,"他说。

As for the space dogs themselves, after the first successful flights of astronauts, the programme was wound down. But Millard believes these canine space pioneers deserve to be remembered as more than just a historical side-bar.

至于这些太空狗的命运,人类宇航员成功进入太空后,这个计划就被关闭。但米拉德认为,这些担当了太空先驱的狗值得人们纪念,而不是只停留在历史书的边边角角里。

“I think they still don’t get the recognition they deserve, and nor do the chimps that the Americans flew,” says Millard. “The way to the stars for humans was paved by dogs and monkeys.”

"我认为这些狗没有受到应有的关注,美国太空试验里使用过的猴子也是,"米拉德说。"人类成为太空明星的道路是由狗和猴子铺就的。"

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