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最强火箭、重返月球:2018年太空大事件

更新时间:2018-1-3 20:24:43 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Rocket Launches and Trips to the Moon We’re Looking Forward to in 2018
最强火箭、重返月球:2018年太空大事件

If you love space and astronomy, 2018 will be an exciting year. NASA has announced windows of time for sending spacecraft to Mars and the sun. Japanese and American probes already in space are set to enter orbit around two near Earth asteroids. And a variety of eclipses and meteor showers offer ample opportunities for skygazing.

如果你喜欢太空和天文学,2018年将会是让你心潮澎湃的一年。航空航天局(NASA)公布了向火星和太阳发送航天器的时间窗口;已经进入太空的日本、美国航天探测器即将开始绕两个近地小行星轨道运行;各类日月食和流星雨给观测天空的人提供了足够多的机会。

We’ve put dates for these events and more on The Times’s Astronomy and Space Calendar. But while some dates are certain or proximate, there’s a lot to be unsure about down here on Earth.

我们把这些事件及其他更多事件的日期都记在了“时报天文和太空日历”上。其中有一些日子是确定或大致确定的,但在地球上仍有许多不确定性。

Sometimes spacecraft aren’t ready on time for launch. Or their launches get scrubbed because of weather. Some terrestrial space agencies don’t always give much notice when they blast off.

有时候,航天器无法按时做好发射准备,或因天气原因发射取消。地面上一些航天机构有时不会在发射前发出通知。

While we aren’t ready to say some space launches will happen on a particular date, these are some of the events we’re watching out for, and we’ll update the calendar when we know more.

尽管我们还不能确定部分航天发射会在哪个特定日子进行,但以下是一些值得我们留意的事件,有了更多消息后我们会在日历上更新。

A big year for SpaceX

SpaceX的重要一年

Elon Musk and his company’s rocket scientists aim to make an early mark on 2018’s calendar of space launch events.

埃隆·马斯克(Elon Musk)和他的火箭专家们的目标,是在2018年的航天发射事件历上早早留下自己的印记。

In January, SpaceX is planning the first test flight of Falcon Heavy, what it calls “the most powerful operational rocket in the world.” A successful test would be an important step toward demonstrating SpaceX’s ability to send spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit, perhaps even to Mars.

SpaceX公司计划在1月首次试射其所谓的“世界最强的现役火箭”猎鹰重型运载火箭(Falcon Heavy)。一次成功的试射将是证明SpaceX能力的重要一步,说明它可以把航天器送出地球轨道,甚至抵达火星。

The rocket’s first stage is made up of three Falcon 9 boosterss, the same used on rockets that SpaceX has sent into space and successfully landed back on Earth on many occasions. Mr. Musk posted photos of the rockets being prepared for launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida in late December:

火箭的一级助推器由三个猎鹰9号(Falcon 9)的助推器组成,同样的助推器曾被用在SpaceX多次发射升空并成功返回地球着陆的火箭上。马斯克发布了12月底在佛罗里达州卡纳维拉尔角空军基地(Cape Canaveral Air Station)内正在进行发射准备的火箭照片:

He also said Falcon Heavy will carry a test payload of a Tesla roadster, which will enter an elliptical orbit of Mars playing David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity.”

他还表示猎鹰重型运载火箭的测试载荷将是一辆特斯拉(Tesla)Roadster跑车,它会播放着大卫·鲍伊(David Bowie)的歌曲《太空怪谈》(Space Oddity)进入火星的椭圆轨道。

While tests of the rocket have been delayed in the past, the vehicle was installed at a launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center at the end of December, according to the website Spaceflight Now:

猎鹰重型运载火箭试验发射有过多次延期,不过据网站Spaceflight Now称,它在12月底已装载在了肯尼迪航天中心(Kennedy Space Center)的发射平台上。

If the test launch succeeds, it sets up the Falcon Heavy to blast off later in the year with commercial and space agency payloads, including a communications satellite for the Saudi Arabia-based company Arabsat and a variety of satellites in one launch for the U.S. Air Force.

如果试射成功,就为猎鹰重型运载火箭在今年晚些时候开展商业和航天机构运货业务做好了准备,包括一个为沙特阿拉伯公司“阿拉伯卫星”(Arabsat)发射的通讯卫星以及为美国空军一次性发射的多颗卫星。

SpaceX also could try to prove it can carry people into space in 2018.

SpaceX还能尝试在2018年证明自己有能力进行载人航天。

While its Dragon spacecraft has carried cargo to the International Space Station, the company has not yet sent human beings into space. A demonstration of its Crew Dragon capsule could occur this year. If successful, it might be a prelude to a voyage around the moon by two private space tourists who have committed to paying for the trip, as well as fulfilling SpaceX’s contract with NASA to fly astronauts to the space station.

SpaceX的“龙”(Dragon)航天器曾向国际空间站(International Space Station)运输货物,但公司还未载人进入太空。Crew Dragon航天舱或许将在今年进行展示。若能成功,这或许将成为两位承诺支付旅行费用的神秘太空游客绕月旅行的前奏,同时SpaceX也将履行与NASA签下的向空间站输送宇航员的合约。

Shooting the moon for pride

为了骄傲探测月球

President Trump committed to sending astronauts to the moon in the years ahead, and more details of the administration’s plan could be announced in February in its budget proposal. But it is unlikely that NASA will send human or robotic explorers to the moon in 2018.

特朗普总统承诺在未来几年里派遣宇航员前往月球,该政府计划的更多细节可能会在2月份的预算提案中公布。不过,NASA不大可能会在2018年将人类或机器人探索者送上月球。

But two terrestrial governments — India and China — have set their sights on returns to the moon this year.

但是,印度和中国两国的政府今年已经将目光投向了重返月球。

The Indian Space Research Organization intends to send an uncrewed orbiter, lander and rover to the moon in the first half of 2018. Known as Chandrayaan-2, the mission aims to demonstrate that India can land a spacecraft on the moon in one piece and drive a rover there. The orbiter will also beam images of the moon and information about its surface back to Earth.

印度空间研究组织(Indian Space Research Organization)计划于2018年上半年向月球发射一个无人轨道飞行器、着陆器和月球车。这个名为“月船二号”(Chandrayaan-2)的任务旨在证明,印度能将一个航天器完好无损地发射到月球上,并在那里驱动一辆月球车。轨道飞行器还将把月球的图像以及月球表面的信息传回地球。

The spacecraft would be India’s second mission to the moon, after Chandrayaan-1 which blasted off in 2008. The country currently has a spacecraft orbiting Mars known as the Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM.

该航天器将是印度继2008年“月船一号”爆炸后的第二次探月任务。该国目前有一个绕火星飞行的航天器,名为“火星轨道探测器”(Mars Orbiter Mission,简称MOM)。

The Chinese National Space Administration also plans a return to the moon after successfully landing the Chang’e-3 spacecraft and its rover there in 2013. NASA suggests that its Chang’e-4 spacecraft could launch in late 2018. It could also include a lander and a rover, and may study the South Pole-Aitken Basin region. American scientists had recently proposed that NASA send a lander to this area of the moon, but the proposal did not advance to the final round of the agency’s New Frontiers competition.

中国国家航天局也计划重返月球。2013年,该国成功地将嫦娥三号航天器和探测车降落到了月球上。据NASA估计,嫦娥四号航天器可能会于2018年年底发射,可能还包括一个着陆器和一个月球车,并可能研究南极-艾托肯盆地地区。前不久,美国的科学家们也建议NASA向月球的这个区域发送一个着陆器,但该提议没有进入该机构的“新疆界计划”(New Frontiers)竞争的最后一轮。

Another Chinese mission to the moon, Chang’e-5, was postponed last year, and now is unlikely to launch until 2019, according to NASA. It would collect lunar samples and bring them back to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

据NASA称,中国的另一项探月计划——嫦娥五号——去年被推迟了,现在看来要到2019年才能发射。它将收集月球样本,并将它们带回地球,那将是自20世纪70年代以来第一次带回样本。

Shooting the moon for a prize

为了奖金探测月球

While state space agencies’ efforts to study the moon are ongoing, a private lunar space race is also underway, inspired in part by the Lunar X Prize. Sponsored by Google, the contest will award $20 million to the first private company that lands a spacecraft on the moon with a rover that is able to complete a series of tasks.

在国家航天机构努力研究月球的同时,一场私人月球太空竞赛也在进行之中,月球X奖(Lunar X Prize)提供了一部分推动力。这场竞赛由谷歌赞助,第一家向月球发射航天器的私人公司将得到该公司提供的2000万美元奖金,该航天器需要携带一个能完成一系列任务的月球车。

The deadline is March 31. That date has previously been moved to allow the competitors — now down to five companies — more time to prepare.

这场竞赛的截止日期是3月31日。该日期之前已被推迟了一次,是为了让竞争者们获得更多的准备时间。现在有五家公司参与竞赛。

Florida’s Moon Express is one of the remaining competitors, and has secured regulatory approval from the United States government to land on the moon. But RocketLab, the company that is to provide its launch vehicle, had to postpone a test of its system over multiple days in December.

佛罗里达州的月球捷运公司(Moon Express)是剩下的几名竞争者之一,它已经获得了美国政府探测月球的监管批准。但是,为它提供运载火箭的RocketLab公司在12月被迫将其系统的测试推迟了数日。

India’s Team Indus and Japan’s Hakuto plan to share an Indian rocket to the moon. They will then independently attempt to complete the tasks required to win the prize.

印度的“印度队”公司(Team Indus)和日本的柏东公司(Hakuto)计划共同搭乘一枚印度火箭向月球进发。然后它们将分头行动,尝试完成获得奖金所需的任务。

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