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[翻译]SCIENCE IN THE NEWS - NASA: Newly Discovered Planets Could Hold Life Forms

更新时间:2017/2/23 9:24:29 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

For the first time ever, astronomers have discovered a system of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting around a single star.

天文学家首次发现了一个由七颗地球大小的行星围绕一颗恒星运行的星系。

The finding was announced Wednesday by officials from NASA – the U.S. space agency – and other research team members. The discovery was also published in the journal Nature.

美国航天局官员及其他研究团队成员周三宣布了这一发现。该发现发表在《自然》杂志上。

Scientists said three of the newly discovered planets are in the so-called habitable zone. This is the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water, and possibly life.

科学家们表示,这些新发现的行星中有三颗位于所谓的可居住带,这是指母星周边的区域,这里的岩态行星可能含有液态水,也可能存在生命。

Thomas Zurbuchen is an associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. He said the discovery could play an important role in finding new environments that could support life forms.

托马斯·左布臣(Thomas Zurbuchen)是华盛顿的美国宇航局科学任务理事会的副行政官。他表示,这一发现在寻找支持生命的新环境中可以发挥重要作用。

“Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority,” he said. “And finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”

他说:“解答‘我们是否是独居宇宙’这个问题,是头等科学大事。而首次在可居住带发现这么多的这类行星是朝此目标迈出的一大步。”

The new discovery set the record for the most habitable-zone planets found around a single star. These planets outside our solar system are called exoplanets. NASA says the seven new discoveries are just 40 light years away from earth.

这一新发现创造了单恒星发现最多可居住带行星的记录。这些在太阳系之外的行星被我们称之为系外行星。美国宇航局表示,这七颗新发现的行星距离地球只有40光年。

The planets were observed by NASA’s Spitzer Telescope. NASA says the planets are circling around a small, nearby dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. The star is not hot like the sun. It is very cool, meaning liquid water could survive on planets orbiting close to it.

这些行星是由美国宇航局的史必哲太空望远镜观察到的。美国宇航局表示,这些行星围绕着一颗被称之为TRAPPIST-1的小的、邻近的矮恒星。这颗恒星不像太阳一样热,它很冷,意味着液态水可以在它附近环绕的行星上存在。

Scientists say further study is needed to determine whether these rocky, terrestrial planets could support any life forms. But they agree that the new discovery shows the possibility that many other Earth-size planets could be out there.

科学家表示,需要进一步研究以确定这些岩态陆地行星是否存在任何形式的生命。但是他们一致同意,这一新发现表明有可能在此之外还有很多地球大小的其它行星。

Thomas Zurbuchen said the latest findings provide valuable information about other worlds and what they may look like. But he added that much remains unknown and will only become clear with future discoveries.

左布臣表示,这一最新发现提供了非常有价值的其它世界的信息以及它们可能是什么样子。但是他补充说,还有很多问题仍然未知,需要未来进一步发现才会变得清晰。

“There’s many things we don’t know - many questions we have that come up when we see these observations. We look at all these animations. Very likely nature is way more beautiful, way more amazing than what we’ve animated here. It’s always that way.”

他说,“还有很多事情我们并不清楚。当我们看到这些观测结果时,很多问题涌现了出来。我们查看了所有观测结果,很可能大自然比我们观测到的更加美丽更加神奇。它一贯如此。”

Sara Seager is a professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She said the new exoplanet discoveries gives her great hope for future research about other worlds.

萨拉·西格尔(Sara Seager)是麻省理工学院一名行星科学和物理学教授。她表示,系外行星的这一新发现给她未来对其它世界的研究带来了巨大希望。

“When there’s one, there’s more. And so that’s why I’m so excited to be here today to share it with you. Because with this amazing system, we know that there must be many more potentially life-bearing worlds out there just waiting to be found.”

她说:“发现了一个,就会发现更多。所以我今天非常兴奋能在这里跟大家分享这些。因为有了这个神奇的星系,我们知道肯定会有更多潜在存在生命的世界在那里等着被发现。”

Some of this future research will be completed with the help of new advanced observance tools NASA has yet to launch.

一些未来研究将在美国宇航局尚未发射的新的高级观测工具的帮助下完成。

One of those is the James Webb Space Telescope – a large infrared telescope with a nearly 7-meter mirror. It is scheduled to launch in October 2018.

其中的工具之一就是詹姆斯·韦伯空间望远镜,这是一个拥有近七米镜面的大型红外望远镜。它计划将于2018年10月发射升空。

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Words in This Story

habitable – adj. able to sustain life

priority – n. something important needing to be dealt with before other things

dwarf – adj. smaller than normal size

terrestrial – adj. relating to the Earth, not space

potentially – adv. possibility of becoming real

infrared – adj. producing or using rays of light that cannot be seen

mirror – n. a piece of glass that reflects images

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