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      VOA慢速英語:火星甲烷之謎:它意味著有生命存在嗎?

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      中英對照 聽力原文

      Methane Mystery on Mars: Could It Mean Life?

      火星甲烷之謎:它意味著有生命存在嗎?

      The United States space agency, NASA, says its Mars exploration vehicle recently recorded a high level of methane gas on the planet. The discovery is exciting because the presence of methane gas could support the case for life on Mars.

      美國太空機構NASA(美國國家航空和宇宙航行局)表示其火星探測器近期顯示在這個星球上的甲烷氣體濃度很高。這個發現令人很興奮,因為甲烷氣體的存在可以為火星上有生命存在提供支持性的依據。

      NASA’s Curiosity vehicle recently recorded the largest level of methane ever measured during its seven-year Mars mission.

      NASA的好奇號火星車近期顯示出其七年火星任務期間測得的最高甲烷濃度。

      Methane has no color or smell. A special instrument on Curiosity’s Mars Science Laboratory recorded the increased gas level. The device, called a laser spectrometer, measures levels of chemical elements and gases in the Martian atmosphere. In addition to methane, the instrument can record levels of water and carbon dioxide.

      甲烷是一種無色無味的氣體。好奇號火星科學實驗室的一個特殊的儀器顯示氣體濃度的增加。這個叫做激光分光計的設備用于檢測火星大氣中化學元素和氣體的濃度。除了甲烷之外,這個儀器也記錄水和二氧化碳的濃度。

      Nearly all the methane gas found in Earth’s atmosphere is produced by biological activity. It usually comes from animal and plant life. But it can also be formed by geological processes, such as interactions between rocks and water.

      地球大氣中發現的所有甲烷氣體幾乎都由生物活動產生。它通常來自有生命的動物和植物。但是它也可以由巖石和水之間的相互作用等地質過程形成。

      NASA said the increased methane was measured to be about 21 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). One ppbv means that if you take a volume of air on Mars, one billionth of the volume of air is methane.

      NASA表示測量到甲烷增加的濃度約為按體積計算的十億分之二十一(21ppbv)。1ppbv的意思是如果你取火星氣體中一個單位體積的氣體,那么這個單位體積氣體中十億分之一為甲烷。

      It was not the first time Curiosity has found methane gas in the Martian atmosphere. About a year ago, NASA announced that Curiosity had discovered sharp seasonal increases in the gas.

      這并不是好奇號首次在火星大氣中檢測到甲烷氣體。大約一年前,NASA宣布好奇號氣體中存在劇烈的季節性增加。

      This time, NASA said the measured methane gas level was clearly larger than any others observed in the past. NASA officials even temporarily stopped Curiosity’s other activities to investigate further.

      這次,NASA表示測量到的甲烷氣體濃度比過去任何時候觀察到的濃度明顯要高很多。NASA官員表示甚至暫停了好奇號的其他活動來進行進一步調查。

      “It's exciting because microbial life is an important source of methane on Earth,” NASA said in a statement announcing the discovery.

      “這令人很激動因為微生物是地球上甲烷氣體的重要來源,”NASA在宣布這個發現的聲明中表示。

      However, Curiosity’s team carried out a follow-up methane experiment that showed a sharp drop in levels of the gas. The second examination found the level was less than one part per billion by volume. That number was “close to the background levels Curiosity sees all the time,” NASA said.

      然而,好奇號團隊進行了后續的甲烷實驗,實驗顯示其在氣體中含量急劇下降。第二次檢驗顯示其濃度降低了1ppbv。NASA表示那個數值跟好奇號一直以來檢測到的本底水平很接近。

      The rise and fall of the methane gas levels left NASA scientists with more questions than answers. The scientists are continuing to study possible causes for the sudden increase.

      甲烷氣體濃度時高時低讓NASA產生了更多迷惑而非更多的解答。科學家正在繼續研究濃度突然上升的可能起因。

      "The methane mystery continues," said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We're more motivated than ever to keep measuring and put our brains together to figure out how methane behaves in the Martian atmosphere."

      “甲烷之謎繼續存在,”阿什溫·瓦薩瓦達稱。他是位于加利福尼亞帕薩迪娜的NASA噴氣推進實驗室好奇號項目的科學家。“我們的積極性比以前更加高昂來保持測量并集中我們的智慧去弄清楚甲烷在火星大氣中的行為。”

      Curiosity does not have instruments that can exactly identify whether the source of the methane is biological or geological. One leading theory is that methane is being released from underground areas created by possible life forms that disappeared long ago.

      好奇號沒有儀器能確切地鑒定甲烷的來源是來自生物還是地質活動。一個重要的理論是甲烷可能是由很久以前消失的生命形式產生并從地表下釋放出來的。

      Even though Mars has no active volcanoes, scientists believe it is also possible that methane is being produced by reactions involving carbon materials and water.

      即使火星沒有活火山,科學家認為甲烷也可能由碳材料和水等物質相互作用而產生的。

      A clearer understanding of methane levels over time “could help scientists determine where they're located on Mars,” NASA said. Scientists hope this understanding will come as Curiosity continues to collect methane data in its search for possible life.

      慢慢地對甲烷濃度有更清楚的認識“能幫助科學家確定它們在火星上的位置,”NASA表示。科學家希望隨著好奇號在尋求可能存在的生命跡象中繼續搜集甲烷數據來了解這個現象。

      I’m Bryan Lynn.

      布賴恩·林恩為您報道。

      Methane Mystery on Mars: Could It Mean Life?

      The United States space agency, NASA, says its Mars exploration vehicle recently recorded a high level of methane gas on the planet. The discovery is exciting because the presence of methane gas could support the case for life on Mars.

      NASA’s Curiosity vehicle recently recorded the largest level of methane ever measured during its seven-year Mars mission.

      Methane has no color or smell. A special instrument on Curiosity’s Mars Science Laboratory recorded the increased gas level. The device, called a laser spectrometer, measures levels of chemical elements and gases in the Martian atmosphere. In addition to methane, the instrument can record levels of water and carbon dioxide.

      Nearly all the methane gas found in Earth’s atmosphere is produced by biological activity. It usually comes from animal and plant life. But it can also be formed by geological processes, such as interactions between rocks and water.

      NASA said the increased methane was measured to be about 21 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). One ppbv means that if you take a volume of air on Mars, one billionth of the volume of air is methane.

      It was not the first time Curiosity has found methane gas in the Martian atmosphere. About a year ago, NASA announced that Curiosity had discovered sharp seasonal increases in the gas.

      This time, NASA said the measured methane gas level was clearly larger than any others observed in the past. NASA officials even temporarily stopped Curiosity’s other activities to investigate further.

      “It's exciting because microbial life is an important source of methane on Earth,” NASA said in a statement announcing the discovery.

      However, Curiosity’s team carried out a follow-up methane experiment that showed a sharp drop in levels of the gas. The second examination found the level was less than one part per billion by volume. That number was “close to the background levels Curiosity sees all the time,” NASA said.

      The rise and fall of the methane gas levels left NASA scientists with more questions than answers. The scientists are continuing to study possible causes for the sudden increase.

      "The methane mystery continues," said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We're more motivated than ever to keep measuring and put our brains together to figure out how methane behaves in the Martian atmosphere."

      Curiosity does not have instruments that can exactly identify whether the source of the methane is biological or geological. One leading theory is that methane is being released from underground areas created by possible life forms that disappeared long ago.

      Even though Mars has no active volcanoes, scientists believe it is also possible that methane is being produced by reactions involving carbon materials and water.

      A clearer understanding of methane levels over time “could help scientists determine where they're located on Mars,” NASA said. Scientists hope this understanding will come as Curiosity continues to collect methane data in its search for possible life.

      I’m Bryan Lynn.

      _____________________________________________________________

      Words in This Story

      mission – n. an important task, usually involving travel somewhere

      geological – adj. relating to the study of rocks, soil and the physical structure of the Earth

      volume – n. the number of amount of something

      microbial – adj. relating to microbes (very small living things)

      motivate – v. to cause someone to behave in a particular way

      determine – v. to control or influence directly

      locate – v. find or discover the exact position of something


      內容來自 VOA英語學習網http://www.tg377.com/show-8745-241767-1.html
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