Mini-DVD, a message for future Martian explorers 迷你DVD, 給未來火星探險家捎來信息

 |2008.06.15
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This image, released on Memorial Day, May 26, 2008, shows the American flag and a mini-DVD on the Phoenix's deck, which is about 3 ft. above the Martian surface. The mini-DVD from the Planetary Society contains a message to future Martian explor-ers, science fiction stories and art inspired by the Red Planet, and the names of more than a quarter million earthlings.

在這張今年5月26日美國國殤日所發布的照片中,可以看到鳳凰號甲板上有一面美國國旗和迷你DVD,鳳凰號約距火星地表三呎。這張「行星協會」所發行的迷你DVD,裡面有給未來探索火星的科學家的信息,科普小說及受火星啟發所繪製的藝術創作。另外還有超過25萬個地球人的簽名。

Phoenix's landing is a relief for NASA since Mars has a reputation of swallowing spacecraft. More than half of all nations' attempts to land on Mars have failed.

鳳凰號成功登陸火星,美國太空總署總算鬆了口氣,因為火星出了名的愛吞噬太空船。所有國家試圖登陸火星,有一半以上都失敗了。

Phoenix's target landing site was 48-kilome-ter-wide shallow valley in the high northern latitudes similar in location to Earth's Greenland or northern Alaska. The site was chosen because images from space spied evidence of a reservoir of frozen water close to the surface.

鳳凰號目標登陸地點是在北方高緯度地區寬48公里的淺山谷,相當於地球上的格陵蘭或阿拉斯加北部。選中這個地點,是因為從太空傳回來的影像,可以窺見接近地表有個冷凍水庫的證據。

Phoenix is equipped with an 2.4 meter-long arm capable of digging trenches in the soil to get to ice that is believed to be buried up to 0.3 meters deep. Then it will analyze the dirt and ice samples for traces of organic compounds, the chemical building blocks of life. The lander also will study whether the ice ev-er melted at some point in Mars' history when the planet had a warmer environment than the current harsh, cold one it currently has.

鳳凰號有一支2.4公尺長的手臂,可以在泥土上挖掘溝渠,並取得據信埋在0.3公尺深的冰塊,它接著會分析泥土和冰的採樣。登陸艇也會研究,在火星的歷史中,當環境比現在嚴酷冰冷的氣候要溫暖時,冰是否曾經溶解。

Scientists do not expect to find water in its liquid form at the Phoenix landing site because it's too frigid. But they say that if raw ingredients of life exist any-where on the planet, they likely would be preserved in the ice.

科學家並不期望能在鳳凰號登陸地點找到液態水,因為太天寒地凍了。但他們表示,如果生命的原始自然成分存在於火星任何地方,只可能保存於冰層中。

Phoenix, however, cannot detect signs of alien life that may exist now or once existed. The only other time NASA searched for chemical signs of life was during the Viking missions. Neither lander found conclusive evidence of life.

但鳳凰號無法偵測現在或過去火星上是否曾有外星人。太空總署唯一另外一次去尋找是否有化學生命跡象,是在出維京任務時,但當時登陸器並未發現有生命的確證。

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