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来源:当当对话    发布时间:2019年12月09日 06:44:56    编辑:admin         

On an glacier-filled island with fjords and elephant seals, Russia has built Antarctica’s first Orthodox church on a hill overlooking its research base, transporting the logs all the way from Siberia.在一个满布冰川、有峡湾与海象的岛屿上,俄罗斯用远从西伯利亚运来的木材,在一座小山上建造了南极洲第一座东正教堂,山下就是该国的科研基地。Less than an hour away by snowmobile, Chinese laborers have updated the Great Wall Station, a linchpin in China’s plan to operate five bases on Antarctica, complete with an indoor badminton court, domes to protect satellite stations and sleeping quarters for 150 people.在离此地一小时托雪橇车程的地方,中国工人对长城站进行了翻建,该国计划在南极设立五个科学考察站,长城站是其中的关键。站内设有室内羽球场和保护卫星站的圆拱屋顶,还有能容纳150人的卧室。Not to be outdone, India’s futuristic new Bharathi base, built on stilts using 134 interlocking shipping containers, resembles a spaceship. Turkey and Iran have announced plans to build bases, too.印度人也不甘示弱。他们新建的巴拉蒂基地(Bharathi)十分前卫,由134个货柜扣接而成,然后用柱撑起,形似一艘太空船。土耳其和伊朗业已宣布在南极建造基地的计划。More than a century has passed since explorers raced to plant their flags at the bottom of the world, and for decades to come this continent is supposed to be protected as a scientific preserve, shielded from intrusions like military activities and mining.一百多年来,探险家争先恐后地在这世界的尽头插上自己的旗帜。 而在接下来数十年,人们本应把这片大陆当做一个科学保护区来呵护,避免它受到诸如军事行动和矿产开发等活动的干扰。But an array of countries are rushing to assert greater influence here, with an eye not just toward the day those protective treaties expire, but also for the strategic and commercial opportunities that exist right now.然而众多国家正纷纷行动起来,要对这里施加更多的影响力。他们一边注意那些保护条约何时到期,一边还要盯着眼下就存在的战略与商业良机。“The newer players are stepping into what they view as a treasure house of resources,” said Anne-Marie Brady, a scholar at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury who specializes in Antarctic politics.“新近加入竞争的国家,踏入的是他们视为天然资源聚宝盆的一块地方,”安妮-玛莉·布雷迪(Anne-Marie Brady)表示;她是新西兰坎特伯雷大学(University of Canterbury)专研南极政治问题的学者。Some of the ventures focus on the Antarctic resources that are aly up for grabs, like abundant sea life. China and South Korea, both of which operate state-of-the-art bases here, are ramping up their fishing of krill, the shrimplike crustaceans found in abundance in the Southern Ocean, while Russia recently thwarted efforts to create one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries here.有的是看上了南极现成可用的天然资源,譬如大量的海洋生物。在这里设有尖端基地的中国和韩国都在迅速提升他们的磷虾渔获量。这是一种形似虾的甲壳动物,大量存在于南冰洋中。而俄罗斯近来刚刚出面阻挠了在这里设立全球最大禁渔区的努力。Some scientists are examining the potential for harvesting icebergs from Antarctica, which is estimated to have the biggest reserves of fresh water on the planet. Nations are also pressing ahead with space research and satellite projects to expand their global navigation abilities.有些科学家正在审视从南极采收冰山的潜力。根据估计,这些冰山蕴含了全世界最大的淡水储备。各国也同时在太空研究和卫星计划上加紧向前,好拓展他们探勘全球的能力。Building on a Soviet-era foothold, Russia is expanding its monitoring stations for Glonass, its version of the Global Positioning System. At least three Russian stations are aly operating in Antarctica, part of its effort to challenge the dominance of the American GPS, and new stations are planned for sites like the Russian base, in the shadow of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity.俄罗斯正在以一个苏联时代的驻扎点为基础,为他们的格洛纳斯系统(Glonass)拓建观测站,这是该国自行开发的全球卫星定位系统。在南极已经有至少三个俄罗斯的观测站在运作,以挑战美国的GPS系统。而其他一些地点,比如圣三一东正教堂(Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity)荫庇下的俄罗斯基地,也有新建观测站的计划。Elsewhere in Antarctica, Russian researchers boast of their recent discovery of a freshwater reserve the size of Lake Ontario after drilling through miles of solid ice.在南极洲另一处地方,俄罗斯研究人员自豪地宣告,他们在钻透数英里厚的坚硬冰层后,发现了容量可比安大略湖的淡水库。“You can see that we’re here to stay,” said Vladimir Cheberdak, 57, chief of the Bellingshausen Station, as he sipped tea under a portrait of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, an officer and later admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy who explored the Antarctic coast in 1820.“你可以看到,我们在这里是扎了根了,”57岁的别林斯高晋站站长弗拉基米尔·切贝尔达克(Vladimir Cheberdak)一边喝着茶一边说,他的头顶悬挂着法比安·戈特利布·冯·别林斯高晋(Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen)的肖像,这位已故俄罗斯皇家海军上将在1820年探索了南极洲的海岸线。Antarctica’s mineral, oil and gas wealth are a longer-term prize. The treaty banning mining here, shielding coveted reserves of iron ore, coal and chromium, expires in 2048. Researchers recently found kimberlite deposits hinting at the existence of diamonds. And while assessments vary widely, geologists estimate that Antarctica holds at least 36 billion barrels of oil and natural gas.南极洲富藏的矿、石油和天然气则是一项长期回报。前述条约禁止各国在此地采矿,护卫着众人垂涎的铁、煤、铬矿脉,不过这份条约会在2048年到期。研究人员近来还发现了金伯利岩层,暗示着钻石矿脉的存在。此外,虽然各家评估结果大不相同,但地质学家预测,南极洲蕴藏了至少3600万桶的石油和天然气。Beyond the Antarctic treaties, huge obstacles persist to tapping these resources, like drifting icebergs that could imperil offshore platforms. Then there is Antarctica’s remoteness, with some mineral deposits found in windswept locations on a continent that is larger than Europe and where winter temperatures hover around minus 70 Fahrenheit.除南极条约外,利用这些资源还存在其他巨大的障碍,如漂浮的冰山可能会危及海上平台。此外,南极位置偏僻。在这个面积超过欧洲,冬季气温在零下70华氏度(约合零下57摄氏度)左右徘徊的大陆上,有几处矿藏位于极为荒凉的地带。But advances in technology might make Antarctica a lot more accessible three decades from now. And even before then, scholars warn, the demand for resources in an energy-hungry world could raise pressure to renegotiate Antarctica’s treaties, possibly allowing more commercial endeavors here well before the prohibitions against them expire.但30年后的技术进步可能会大大降低开发南极的难度。而学者警告称,可能都等不到那个时候,这个渴望能源的世界所产生的资源需求,就会促使人们就南极条约重新展开谈判,也许会在禁令失效前就允许对这里进行商业利用。The research stations on King George Island offer a glimpse into the long game on this ice-blanketed continent as nations assert themselves, eroding the sway long held by countries like the ed States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.随着各国坚持自己的主张,削弱美国、英国、澳大利亚和新西兰等国长期以来的影响力,这片被冰雪覆盖的大陆上演了一场历时弥久的竞争。乔治王岛上的科考站让人们得以一窥这场竞争。Being stationed in Antarctica involves adapting to life on the planet’s driest, windiest and coldest continent, yet each nation manages to make itself at home.被派驻南极意味着要在全世界最干燥、最冷、风最大的大陆上生活,但各国过得都挺惬意。Bearded Russian priests offer regular services at the Orthodox church for the 16 or so Russian speakers who spend the winter at the base, largely polar scientists in fields like glaciology and meteorology. Their number climbs to about 40 in the warmer summer months.蓄着胡子的俄罗斯神父会定期在东正教堂为在基地过冬的大约16名说俄语的人举行仪式。他们大部分是冰川学和气象学等领域的极地科学家。在更暖和一些的夏季,人数会增加到大约40人。China has arguably the fastest-growing operations in Antarctica. It opened its fourth station last year and is pressing ahead with plans to build a fifth. It is building its second icebreaking ship and setting up research drilling operations on an ice dome 13,422 feet above sea level that is one of the planet’s coldest places.中国在南极的活动可以说是增加最快的。该国去年启用了第四个科考站,现在正在推进修建第五个科考站的计划。此外,中国还在建造第二艘破冰船,并安排在一处海拔13422英尺(约合4100米)的冰穹上进行研究性的钻井作业。那里是全球最冷的地方之一。Chinese officials say the expansion in Antarctica prioritizes scientific research, but they also acknowledge that concerns about “resource security” influence their moves.中国官员称,在南极扩张的首要目的是科学考察,但他们也承认,对“资源安全”的担忧对他们的行动有影响。China’s newly renovated Great Wall station on King George Island makes the Russian and Chilean bases here seem antiquated.在乔治王岛上,中国新近翻建的长城站让俄罗斯和智利的基地相形见绌。“We do weather monitoring here and other research,” Ning Xu, 53, the chief of the Chinese base, said over tea during a fierce blizzard in late November.在11月末的一场强暴风雪期间,长城站站长徐宁喝着茶说,“我们在这里进行天气监测和其他研究。”The cavernous base he leads resembles a snowed-in college campus on holiday break, with the capacity to sleep more than 10 times the 13 people who were staying on through the Antarctic winter.他领导的长城站内有巨大的空间,像一个放假期间被雪封住了的大学校园。在南极的这个冬天会有13个人留在这里。但该站的空间足以容纳10倍以上的人过夜。Yong Yu, a Chinese microbiologist, showed off the spacious building, with empty desks under an illustrated timeline detailing the rapid growth of China’s Antarctic operations since the 1980s. “We now feel equipped to grow,” he said.微生物学家余勇(音)向我们展示宽敞的大楼。一个图文并茂的大事年表详细介绍了自80年代以来,中国南极活动的迅速发展。年表下面的桌子上空无一物。“我们觉得现在是时候发展了,”他说。As some countries expand operations in Antarctica, the ed States maintains three year-round stations on the continent with more than 1,000 people during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, including those at the Amundsen-Scott station, built in 1956 at an elevation of 9,301 feet on a plateau at the South Pole. But American researchers quietly grumble about budget restraints and having far fewer icebreakers than Russia, limiting the reach of the ed States in Antarctica.在一些国家扩大其南极活动的同时,美国在这片大陆上依旧保持着三个全年运转的科考站规模。在南半球的夏季,这三个站有逾千人,其中包括阿蒙森-斯科特(Amundsen-Scott)站的人员。建于1956年的阿蒙森-斯科特站地处南极的一片高原上,海拔9301英尺。然而美国科考人员私下里抱怨预算紧张,破冰船也远少于俄罗斯,这些问题制约了美国在南极的影响力。Scholars warn that Antarctica’s political flux could blur the distinction between military and civilian activities long before the continent’s treaties come up for renegotiation, especially in parts of Antarctica that are ideal for intercepting signals from satellites or retasking satellite systems, potentially enhancing global electronic intelligence operations.学者告诫称,南极的政治力量变化可能会在就南极条约重新展开谈判之前,模糊军事和民用活动之间的界线,特别是在最适合用于拦截卫星信号或重新设定卫星经过时间的地区,这可能给全球电子情报活动带来提升。Some countries have had a hard time here. Brazil opened a research station in 1984, but it was largely destroyed by a fire that killed two members of the navy in 2012, the same year that a diesel-laden Brazilian barge sank near the base. As if that were not enough, a Brazilian C-130 Hercules military transport plane has remained stranded near the runway of Chile’s air base here since it crash-landed in 2014.一些国家在这里十分不顺。巴西在1984年设立了一个科考站,但2012年的一场大火导致该站基本被毁,并造成两名海军人员死亡。同一年,巴西一艘满载柴油的驳船在该基地附近沉没。然而厄运还没有结束,2014年,巴西一架C-130大力神军用运输机紧急迫降后,一直被困在这里的一座智利空军基地跑道附近。Still, Brazil’s stretch of misfortune has created opportunities for China, with a Chinese company winning the 0 million contract in 2015 to rebuild the Brazilian station.但巴西一连串的不幸给中国创造了机会。2015年,一家中国公司拿下了重建巴西科考站的合同,价值1亿美元。Amid all the changes, Antarctica maintains its allure. South Korea opened its second Antarctic research base in 2014, describing it as a way to test robots developed by Korean researchers for use in extreme conditions. With Russia’s help, Belarus is preparing to build its first Antarctic base. Colombia said this year that it planned to join other South American nations with bases in Antarctica.经历了这一切的变化,南极魅力依旧。2014年,韩国开设第二个南极科考站,称其将用于检验韩国研究人员开发的用于极端条件的机器人。在俄罗斯的帮助下,白俄罗斯也在准备修建该国的第一个南极基地。哥伦比亚今年表示打算加入其他一些南美国家的行列,在南极建立科考站。“The old days of the Antarctic being dominated by the interests and wishes of white men from European, Australasian and North American states is over,” said Klaus Dodds, a politics scholar at the University of London who specializes in Antarctica. “The reality is that Antarctica is geopolitically contested.”“在以前,南极被欧洲、澳大拉西亚和北美诸国的白人利益和意愿主宰,”伦敦大学(University of London)专研南极问题的政治学者克劳斯·多兹(Klaus Dodds)说。“眼下的现实是,南极成了地缘政治上的争夺目标。” /201601/419759。

We recently asked people to tell us the stupidest ways they have broken their computers.Here are their stories.最近我们请人们讲了讲自己那些弄坏电脑的最蠢行为。下面就是他们讲述的故事。1.Try not to cook your laptop.1.别用你的笔记本烧菜I used my computer as a plate in the microwave when I was drunk.有一次我喝醉了,把笔记本当成了微波炉用的餐盘。2.Don#39;t whip your hair too enthusiastically.2.甩头发的时候不要太热情洋溢My sophomore year of college, my roommate and I were making fun of Willow Smith#39;s song ;Whip My Hair;.I whipped a little too hard, and my laptop flew off my lap and crashed onto the floor.Not my proudest moment.我大二的时候,有一次我和室友一起听维罗·史密斯的歌《头发甩甩》。我甩头发用力过猛,以致我的笔记本从腿上飞了出去,砸到地上了。3.Keep in mind that sometimes, even ants can#39;t save you.3.记住,有时候就算蚂蚁也救不了你I dropped a hot bowl of mashed potatoes on my laptop keyboard.The keys all press themselves now.I put the laptop outside to try to save it by letting the ants eat the mashed potatoes, but the damage had aly been done.The ants did a good job cleaning it out, though.我不小心把一大碗热乎乎的土豆泥倒在键盘上了。键盘上的按键都开始自行其是了。我把笔记本放在室外,希望蚂蚁来吃掉土豆泥,我的笔记本就得救了,然而这也无济于事。不过蚂蚁还是帮我把键盘清理的蛮干净的。4.Never trust a cleanly infant.4.绝不要信任有洁癖的宝宝I was babysitting my cousin#39;s son who was 3 or 4 at the time and had an obsession with cleaning EVERYTHING.Laptop was on the coffee table, glass of water on the end table.I left the room for no more than 3 minutes to use the bathroom.When I re-entered the room, it was aly too late; he had dumped the whole glass of water on the laptop.I yelled, ;Seth, NO!; and the poor kid burst into tears and said, ;I just wanted it clean it for you!;那时我在看护我的侄儿子,他3、4岁的样子,特别喜欢把每件东西都弄得干干净净。我的笔记本放在咖啡桌上,桌角有一杯水。我离开房间去卫生间,用了不到三分钟的时间。当我再回到房间里的时候,我发现一切都太迟了:他已经把一整杯水都倒在了我的笔记本上。我尖叫道:;赛斯,住手!;,而那个可怜的孩子则崩出泪水,说道;我只是想为你把它弄干净!;5.Don#39;t be too whimsy.5.别太神经质I broke my laptop dancing in the rain.I was waiting for a ride home from class at my university and it was raining and so I jumped in the puddles like the toddler I am and when I got home I realized my backpack was soaked through and my laptop was dead.我在雨中漫舞的时候弄坏了我的笔记本。那时我上完课准备搭车回家,天上下着雨,我像小孩子一样踩着水洼玩。到家时我才意识到我的背包湿透了,我的笔记本也完蛋了。6.And try not to be too sad.6.试着别让自己太伤心Not me, but a friend got really homesick her first month of college and cried so much on her MacBook track pad that she gave it water damage.我的一个朋友刚进大学一个月那会儿特别想家,她对着自己的苹果笔记本触摸板不停的哭,结果她的笔记本就受潮了。 /201511/412645。

The rich are set to become God-like cyborgs in what could be the #39;biggest evolution in biology#39; since life emerged.富人们将变成会成为上帝般的电子人,这将可能是人类有史以来“在生物方面最大的进化”。This is according to Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who believes the radical shift will take place in the next 200 years.这是来自耶路撒冷希伯来大学(Hebrew University of Jerusalem)的教授尤尔瓦#8226;诺亚#8226;哈拉里(Yuval Noah Harari)的预言,他相信这种巨变会在未来200年内发生。Using biotechnology and genetic engineering, Professor Harari claims the wealthy will transform into a new type of divine, immortal human with complete power over life and death.哈拉里说,富人们使用生物技术和基因工程技术,能够转化成新人类——神圣,永恒,对生与死有完全的掌控权。He argues that humans are unable to resist the temptation to #39;upgrade#39; themselves, according to a report by Sarah Knapton in the Telegraph.萨拉#8226;卡普顿(Sarah Knapton)在《电讯报》(Telegraph)的报道称,哈拉里提出,人类无法拒绝“升级”自身的诱惑。#39;We are programmed to be dissatisfied,#39; said Professor Harari, during a recent speech at the Hay literary festival in Wales.哈拉里教授最近在威尔士干草文学节发表演说,称,“我们已被设定为不满足现状。”#39;Even when humans gain pleasure and achievements it is not enough. They want more and more.“即使人类获得了快乐和成就,仍然感到不满足。他们想要更多。”#39;I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering or by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.“我认为在接下来的约200年里,现代人很可能会通过使用生物操控或基因工程,或通过创造半有机半无机的电子人,使自身升级为神人。”#39;It will be the greatest evolution in biology since the appearance of life. Nothing really has changed in four billion years biologically speaking.“这将是自人类生命诞生以来,在生物方面最大的进化。从生物学上来讲,400亿年来,人类的身体构造并没有真正发生变化。#39;But we will be as different from today#39;s humans as chimps are now from us.#39;“就像猩猩已经离我们很遥远了,我们也将会与今天的人类截然不同。”The technology to do this, however, will be restricted to the very wealthy, claims Professor Harari.然而,哈拉里教授称,改造人类这一技术将只属于富人。Up until now, he says society has been held together by inventing #39;fictions#39;, such as religion, money and the idea of fundamental human rights.他说,在目前为止,社会被创造的“虚幻”团结在一起,如宗教,金钱,人权思想等。As long as humans believed they relied more and more on these gods they were controllable, he said.他说,只要人类相信这些,越来越依靠这些“神”,他们就是可控的。#39;But what we see in the last few centuries is humans becoming more powerful and they no longer need the crutches of the Gods.#39;但是我们在过去几个世纪里所看到的是,人类变得越来越强大,不再需要上帝的拐杖。He added that the most interesting place in the world from a religious perspective is not the Middle East but Silicon Valley.他补充道,从宗教的观点来看,世界上最有趣的地方不是中东,而是硅谷。Here, people are developing what he describes as a #39;techno-religion#39; in which they believe death is just a technological problem.这里的人们发展出这样一种他称之为“技术宗教”的观念:他们相信死亡只是一个技术问题。#39;Now we are saying we do not need God just technology,#39; he added.他补充道,“现在我们不需要上帝了,只需要技术。” /201505/377621。

Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk is y to fire overseas executives after weak China sales of the company’s luxury electric cars cast doubt on his ambitious global expansion plans, according to Reuters.据路透社报道,电动汽车公司特斯拉首席执行官埃隆o穆斯克正准备开除几名负责海外业务的高管,原因是特斯拉豪华电动汽车在中国的销售业绩低迷,而这给穆斯克的雄心勃勃的全球扩张计划打上了问号。Tesla TSLA -1.61% sold just 120 cars in China last month, well below the ambitious sales targets Musk set for the country. In fact, Reuters notes that Musk expected sales in China to rival Tesla sales in the US in 2015.上个月,特斯拉汽车在中国只售出了120辆,远低于穆斯克为中国市场制定的宏伟目标。路透社指出,实际上,穆斯克曾预计2015年特斯拉在中国的销量将和美国相当。Sales in China were also weak in the 4th quarter, with Musk blaming a misperception among urban Chinese consumers that it would be difficult to charge their cars.去年第四季度,特斯拉在中国的表现同样疲软。穆斯克指出,这是因为中国城市居民误以为给电动汽车充电是一桩难事。 /201502/360375。

The First Highway—Hujia Express Way第一条高速公路——沪嘉高速公路On October 31, 1988, China has its own highway. Hujia Expressway is a section entering into Shanghai of 204 National Road ( Shanghai to Yantai) , from the Qilian Mountain Road of Shanghai suburb to the south gate of Jiading County, a full-lnterchange closed equipment for the entire car dedicated highgrade highways.1988年10月31日,中国大陆拥有了自己的高速公路。沪嘉高速公路是204国道(上海至烟台)的人沪路段,从上海市区祁连山路至市郊嘉定县南门,是一条全立交全封闭设备全供汽车专用的高等级公路。A total length of 20. 5 kilometers highway occupies an area of 45 meters wide, with a 26.5 meters wide pavement, 3.5 meters medial strip, two lanes of each direction from upstream to downstream,and there are als0 2. 5 meters wide hardened verges on both sides for emergency vehicle use. The highway, for the first time, introduced a modern traffic control facilities, and three data acquisition systems set up on the whole road can collect data of speed, models and the passing cars. Emergency telephones are offered in very one kilometer, helping vehicle drivers, road managers keep in touch with the central control room.With a design speed of 120 km, the highway is open t0 40000 vehicles day and night.公路全长20.5千米,占地宽45米,路面宽26.5米,中央有3.5米的分隔带,上下行各两个车道,两侧还有2.5米宽的硬路肩,供紧急停车用。这条公路首次采用了现代化的交通监控设施,全线设立了3个数据采集系统可采集到车速、车型和过路汽车数据。每一千米设有紧急电话,使汽车司机、公路管理人员和中央控制室保持联络。公路设计时速120千米,昼夜可通车4万余辆。 /201602/426278。

For lifeless chemical compounds to organize themselves into something alive, scientists generally agree, three sets of things must be present:科学家基本公认,无生命的化学物质自行组合形成生命,需要具备三个前提条件: Standing water and an energy source. 静态水和能量来源。 Five basic elements: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorus and nitrogen. 五种基本元素:碳、氧、氢、磷和氮。 And time, lots of time. 还有时间,漫长的时间。In its search for environments where life might have started on Mars, the Curiosity rover has found the standing water, the energy and the key elements with the right atomic charges. As a result, scientists have concluded that at least some of the planet must have been habitable long ago.在寻找火星上适宜生命的环境的过程中,“好奇号”火星探测车找到了静态水、能源和原子电量正好合适的基本元素。据此,科学家得出结论,火星上至少有些地方在很久以前是适宜生命存在的。But the period when all conditions were right was counted in hundreds to thousands of years, a very small opening by origin-of-life standards.但在火星历史上,所有这些条件都具备的时间跨度大约是几百到几千年,而以生命起源的标准衡量,那实在不过是转瞬之间。That has now changed. John P. Grotzinger of Caltech, the project scientist for the mission, reported at a news conference on Monday that the rover’s yearlong trek to Mount Sharp provided strong new evidence that Gale Crater had large lakes, rivers and deltas, on and off, for millions to tens of millions of years. The geology shows that even when the surface water dried up, plenty of water would have remained underground, he said.不过,现在有了新发现。负责“好奇号”火星项目的加州理工科学家约翰·P·格罗青格(John P. Grotzinger)周一(12月8日——译注)在新闻发布会上宣布,“好奇号”向着夏普峰历时一年的跋涉发现了有力的新据,明盖尔环形山曾有大型湖泊、河流和三角洲,而且这些地貌断断续续存在的时间有数百万到数千万年之间。他说,已知的火星地理特征说明,即使是在地表水干涸的时候,也有地下水存在。Moreover, the team concluded, numerous deltalike and lakelike formations detected by orbiting satellites are almost certainly the dried remains of substantial ancient lakes and deltas. None of this proves that life existed on the planet, but the case for an early Mars that was ripe and y for life has grown stronger.此外,科学家团队还得出结论,环绕火星的卫星发现大量类三角洲或类湖泊地貌,几乎可以肯定就是古代湖泊和三角洲干涸之后的遗迹。这些均不能明火星上曾有生命,但早期火星适宜生命存在的可能性极大地增强了。“As a science team, Mars is looking very attractive to us as a habitable planet,” Dr. Grotzinger said in an interview. “Not just sections of Gale Crater and not just a handful of locations, but at different times around the globe.”“对于我们科学团队来说,火星作为一个生命宜居行星,显得十分诱人,”格罗青格说。“不仅是在盖尔环形山,也不仅是有限几个地点,而是在不同历史时期遍布火星各处。”And John M. Grunsfeld, a former astronaut who is NASA’s associate administrator for science, said that after almost 28 months on Mars, Curiosity has given scientists insight into how and where to look for clues of ancient life. “We don’t know if life ever started on Mars, but if it did, we now have a better chance of discovering it” on future missions, he said.美国国家航空航天局(NASA)科学副总监、前宇航员约翰·M·格伦斯菲尔德(John M. Grunsfeld)也说,“好奇号”在火星的近28个月让科学家学到很多东西,知道该怎样寻找古代生命的线索,以及到哪里去找。“我们不知道火星上是否曾有生命起源,但如果有的话,我们[在今后探索任务中]发现它的机会更大了,”他说。Another missing piece of the story has been the inability to detect organic compounds — the carbon-based building blocks of life.探索生命起源的过程中另一个缺失的环节是一直没有找到有机化合物——构成生命的碳基元件。That too may soon change. Last spring, several Curiosity team members reported the detection of some simple organics that appeared to be Martian. The findings were not definitive, but NASA has scheduled a news conference Dec. 14 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union with “new information” about the search for organics. “Our original interpretation — that there was a good chance the organics we were seeing are Martian — hasn’t changed,” said Daniel P. Glavin of the Goddard Spaceflight Center, an author of the earlier paper. “This interpretation will be expanded on at A.G.U.”这一点也可能很快会有突破。今年春季,“好奇号”的几位科学家报告发现了可能是火星上的某些简单有机物。这个发现没有遽下结论,但航天局已经安排了12月14日在美国地球物理学会(American Geophysical Union)年会上召开新闻发布会,发布关于探索火星有机物的“新消息”。那篇论文的作者之一、戈达德航天中心(Goddard Spaceflight Center)的丹尼尔·P·格莱文(Daniel P. Glavin)说:“我们最初的解读——很可能我们发现的就是火星有机物——并没有改变。在U年会上我们会进一步介绍。”Curiosity does not carry life-detection instruments, in large part because there is no consensus on what such an instrument might be. A finding of life based on what at first appeared to be metabolic activity, detected during the Viking missions of 1977, was so controversial that NASA ultimately rejected it. So scientists have been using a variety of tools — from geology and other earth sciences, organic and mineral chemistry, atmospheric measurements and sophisticated cameras — to determine whether life could have arisen and survived in Gale Crater and other locations with similar characteristics.“好奇号”没有搭载生命探测设备,主要是因为究竟该用什么样的设备,科学家没有达成共识。1977年“海盗号”探测器报告发现了生命迹象,基于的是一开始被认为是代谢行为的现象。但那次发现争议很大,航天局最终做出了否定判断。因此,科学家开始用各种工具——包括地质学等地球科学的工具、有机和无机化学、大气探测以及精密摄像机等等——去判断盖尔环形山和其他类似地点是否曾经有生命出现并存活。Another member of the Curiosity team, Roger Summons of M.I.T., says that findings from that rover and previous missions suggest that early Mars may have been quite similar to early Earth.“好奇号”团队的另一名成员、麻省理工的罗杰·萨曼斯(Roger Summons)说,“好奇号”和历史上其他的火星探索显示,早期火星或许和早期地球十分相近。For the first billion years, he said, both planets had stable environments that could support life for substantial periods, and both still share the same chemistry and processes for altering rocks. There is a general scientific consensus that life began on Earth some 3.8 billion years ago, and Dr. Summons said it was clear that the same could have happened on Mars. Or as Dr. Grunsfeld put it, “What I get excited about is imagining a Mars 3.5 to 4 billion years ago, a planet with a thick atmosphere, maybe a blue sky with puffy clouds and mountains and lakes and rivers.”他说,最初的10亿年,两个星球都有稳定的环境,允许生命在相当长的时间里存在。直到今天,地球和火星仍然有相同的化学构成以及促使岩石发生转变的地质过程。科学界基本同意,生命在地球上开始于大约38亿年前。萨曼斯称,很明显同样的事情可能也发生在火星上。或者像格伦斯菲尔德说的那样:“让我激动的是想像一个35到40亿年前的火星,一个包裹在厚厚的大气层中的星球,可能有蓝天白云,有山脉、湖泊和河流。”Many similarities disappeared after Mars, a much smaller planet, lost much of its protective atmosphere by the end of its first billion years. So searching for possible Martian life involves digging deep below the surface or detecting microbial remains billions of years old. Identifying ancient microbial life has proved extremely difficult and controversial on Earth, and the challenge on Mars is considerably greater.在它基本度过第一个10亿年的时候,火星这颗小得多的行星丧失了大部分保护它的大气层,于是很多相似性也消失了。因此,搜寻火星生命就需要深深地挖掘地表下岩层,或者探测几十亿年前的微生物遗迹。在地球上辨识古代微生物极其困难,而且也难令所有人信;在火星上,这种挑战就更大了。For that reason, scientists have long called for a mission to bring rock and soil samples back to Earth for sophisticated analysis. The Mars mission scheduled for 2020 would begin the effort by experimenting with methods to select, lift and store promising samples.因此,科学家一直呼吁把火星岩石和土壤样本带回地球做深入分析。2020年开始的火星计划将开始尝试挑选、提取和储存有希望的样本。But there are no Mars samples now — except those that arrive as long-traveling meteorites — so astrobiologists have to conduct their search for life using other methods and teasing out hidden evidence.但是目前还没有火星样本——除了长途飞行来到地球的陨石——因此,宇宙生物学家只能用其他方法进行寻找生命的工作,梳理出隐藏的线索。The search for water on Mars, for instance, goes back decades and many missions. But scientists were never certain that the carved canyons and deltas were results of water running long ago, or perhaps lava or frozen carbon dioxide. Because of Curiosity, there is now a wide consensus that early Mars had much water.比如,寻找火星水的工作在几十年前的火星计划中就开始了。但科学家一直不能肯定,那些大峡谷和三角洲究竟是古代河流冲刷形成的,还是熔岩或冻结的二氧化碳造成的。多亏了“好奇号”,现在科学家普遍同意,早期火星上有很多水。This conclusion has been difficult to square with climate models, which point to a colder early Mars with a thin atmosphere that could not have supported large bodies of standing water, or rivers that ran for millions of years. But faced with mounting evidence of longstanding water and consequently warmer conditions, the climate scientists have gravitated toward two interwoven explanations — both with implications for early life.这个结论一度很难在火星气候模型中说得通。火星气候模型显示,早期火星冰冷,大气稀薄,不持大量静态水的存在,不可能有流淌了几百万年的河流。但面对越来越多的关于持续存在的水源和由此导致的温暖环境的据,气候学家开始倾向于两种互相交叉的解释——两种解释都意味着可能有早期生命存在。The first is that frequent volcanoes and meteorite impacts heated the planet substantially; volcanoes also emit gases known to synthesize into organic compounds. The second is that to explain the substantial water cycle required to keep many Martian lakes filled and rivers flowing, the planet needed a substantial ocean in its northern half. Large swaths of Mars north of its equator are one to three miles lower than the so-called southern highlands, and scientists have proposed that an ocean may have filled and molded the vast depression. Others disagree on several grounds, including that no remnant shoreline has been detected.第一种解释是,频繁的火山活动和陨石撞击让星球大幅升温;火山也会释放出气体,能合成有机化合物。第二个解释是,火星要维持水循环,让火星湖泊和河流成为可能,那么在北半球就应该有一大片海洋。火星赤道以北的大片区域比通称的南方高地要低一到三英里。科学家提出假设,北半球可能有古代海洋,塑造了广袤的低地。也有人不同意,基于好几条理由,包括没有探测到海岸线的遗迹。“We don’t have hard evidence of a northern ocean, but our models require that much water to explain what the geologists have now confirmed,” said Michael A. Mischna of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, another Curiosity team member. “What Curiosity has done is to bring together atmospheric and climate information with the findings of the geologists and geochemists, and created a broad and consistent story of a very wet early Mars.”“我们没有发现北半球海洋的确凿据,但我们的模型要求有一大片水体,这样才能解释目前地质学家已经实的结论,”“好奇号”团队成员、喷气推进实验室(Jet Propulsion Laboratory)的迈克尔·A·米什纳(Michael A. Mischna)说。“好奇号的工作就是将大气与气候信息,和地质学家与地质化学家的发现整合起来,构建一个大跨度、可以自圆其说的理论,描述一个非常湿润的早期火星。”While the evidence for water has become increasingly clear, the question of organic compounds is in flux. Such chemicals fall onto Mars all the time in interstellar dust and meteorites, as they do onto Earth. Yet none have been definitively detected.关于水的据已经越来越清楚了,但有关有机化合物的疑问还有一大堆。这类物质不断以星际尘埃和陨石的形式落到火星上,就像落在地球上一样,但目前还从来没有被确凿地发现。But on this mission, team members knew to look for a salt called perchlorate that has been demonstrated on Earth to destroy or transform organics in the presence of heat. Substantial amounts of perchlorate were found in Gale Crater, suggesting that if early Mars had organic chemicals and they survived eons of radiation bombardment, they are long since gone or they will remain very difficult to detect with current techniques.不过在这次火星探索中,科学家知道应该寻找一种叫做高氯酸盐的无机物。在地球上,高氯酸盐被明可以在高温下破坏有机物,或者促使有机物转化。在盖尔环形山上发现了大量高氯酸盐。这意味着,如果早期火星存在有机物,而且它们没有被持续的宇宙辐射消灭,那么它们现在也早就不存在了,或者用现有的技术很难发现。The Sample Analysis at Mars instrument is designed to identify relatively simple organics that burn off as gases in its oven. But it also carries nine cups with a solvent that can alter more complex molecules (like amino acids and nucleic acids) in ways that protect their signature.火星样本分析设备是用来识别相对简单的有机物的。这些有机物将在它的烤炉内作为气体燃尽。但它也带有九个杯子,盛着一种溶剂,可以转化更复杂的分子(比如氨基酸和核酸)同时保护它们的化学特征。This “wet chemistry” has been awaiting the finding of a sample rich in organics. A further problem is that one of its cups leaked, causing enormous headaches and making team leaders wary.这种“湿化学”技术一直还在等待富含有机物的样本被发现。另一个问题是设备的其中一只杯子发生了泄漏,制造了大麻烦,让团队负责人不放心。But Dr. Glavin, a member of the team, hopes the spilled solvent will itself be used to test previously collected Martian samples, making it the first wet-chemistry experiment ever on another planet.但团队成员格莱文希望,溢洒的溶剂可以被用来测试之前采集的火星样本,那将是外星球进行的第一次湿化学试验。Clearly, the search for life on Mars — past or present — will be neither straightforward nor swift.很显然,寻找火星生命——无论是古代生命还是现今的生命——不会是一帆风顺,也不可能马上成功。 /201412/348795。