最牛“驴友”:一起“私奔”到月球(图)

2012-07-04 10:59:59 来源: 网易教育论坛 举报
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空间旅游业长期以来鼓噪宣传,人尽皆知,但至今尚未真正成行。

最牛“驴友”:一起“私奔”到月球(图)

美国和英国各有一家公司在向勇敢的超级富豪兜售探月旅游,单人票价1亿5千万美元,包括几个月的飞前训练和6天或6个月的太空飞行。会有足够的顾客光顾他们的生意吗?人们将拭目以待。

Moon tourism 月球旅游业

Fly me to the moon 好风凭借力,送我窥月宫

Two private firms are offering moon jaunts to the rich and dedicated两家私营公司正向热忱的富豪提供月球之旅服务

Are we nearly there yet? 咱快到了吧?

The space race between America and the Soviet Union was as much about ideological one-upmanship as extraterrestrial exploration. A new space race to the moon has an even less lofty goal: sightseeing. Two space-tourism companies are planning rival lunar missions that could see private individuals paying to fly to Earth’s nearest celestial neighbour。

美苏之间的太空竞赛不仅有关外空间探索,同样也为了在意识形态上压倒对方。新一轮奔月竞赛的目标更不能算高:只不过是去观光。两家太空旅游公司正在计划相互竞争的探月项目,这可能会让个人以私人身份买票,飞往地球最近的邻居。

On June 19th Excalibur Almaz, a space company based on the Isle of Man, a British dependency in the Irish Sea, became the second company—after Space Adventures, an American space-tourism firm—to offer tickets for a commercial moonshot. Both firms are charging $150m a seat, a price that includes months of ground-based training. Neither is offering a descent to the moon’s surface—just a lunar fly-by。

6月19日,继美国的太空探险公司(Space Adventures)之后,设在爱尔兰海(Irish Sea)中的英国属地曼恩岛(Isle of Man)上的航天公司王剑钻石(Excalibur Almaz)[注1]成了第二家向公众出售探月航行飞船票的公司。两家公司的票价都是每位1亿5千万美元,其服务包括升空前的几个月地面训练。它们都不提供登月之旅。

Whereas the Americans won the first space race, the Russians are favourites for the rematch. Both Excalibur Almaz and Space Adventures are using Russian-made rockets and spacecraft. Space Adventures plans to re-engineer the veteran Soyuz craft that it has used to shuttle seven space tourists up to the International Space Station (ISS). Excalibur Almaz intends to refit two Almaz space stations that were originally made for the Soviet armed forces。

尽管美国在第一次太空竞赛中获胜,但在当前的复赛中俄罗斯却备受青睐。王剑钻石和太空探险都使用俄制火箭和飞船。太空探险计划重建老式的联盟号飞船(Soyuz),这种飞船完成了7名太空旅行者的国际太空站(International Space Station (ISS))往返航程;而王剑钻石则想重新装备原来为苏军打造的两座俄罗斯钻石空间站(Almaz space station)。

The space-tourism business is famously long on hype but rather short, so far, on results. And both firms face big engineering challenges, to put it mildly. The easier task probably falls to Space Adventures, whose well-tested Soyuz capsules—which have been flying, in one form or another, since the 1960s—require a beefier communications system, larger portholes (everyone wants a window seat, after all) and a better heat shield for re-entry. A separate booster rocket will be necessary to break the craft out of Earth orbit。

空间旅游业长期以来鼓噪宣传,人尽皆知,但至今尚未真正成行。即使轻描淡写地说,两家公司也都面临着巨大的技术挑战。这方面太空探险的工作可能轻松些,因为他们的联盟号太空舱久经考验,从上世纪60年代起就以不同型号升空,只不过现在需要更可靠的通讯系统、更大的舷窗(毕竟人人都要靠窗的座位)和为重返大气层提供更好的耐热罩,此外还需要一个助推火箭让飞船脱离地球轨道。

Excalibur Almaz’s bulky space stations will need a lot more work to convert into lunar spacecraft. The first step will be to attach engines. The company plans to use ion thrusters, a high-tech propulsion system in which propellant is ejected using an electric field. Such motors are extremely efficient, and can be powered from a station’s solar panels. But they generate little thrust, meaning that Excalibur Almaz’s mission will take at least six months, compared with just six days for Space Adventures’ chemical-powered craft. In fact, the low-energy trajectory planned by Excalibur Almaz will take its crew members farther from the than any other humans have been。

把王剑钻石宽敞的空间站改装成探月飞船需要做的工作就多得多了。首先是要安装发动机。该公司计划使用离子推进器。这是一种高技术推进系统,其中的推进剂通过电场喷射。这样的马达效率极高,可以通过系统的太阳能电池提供动力。但它们推力不大,这让王剑钻石的一次旅行至少费时6个月;相比之下,太空探险用化学燃料为飞船提供动力,一次旅行只要6天。实际上,王剑钻石计划采用的低能轨道将使它的飞船乘员创造人类飞行的最远纪录。

A journey that long would be risky. One danger is from unpredictable and potentially deadly solar flares, giant releases of stellar energy that would bombard the craft with radiation and fry its occupants. To protect its passengers, the company plans to build an internal “storm shelter” that uses the spacecraft’s water supplies to absorb radiation。

这样长远的太空航行会有风险。一种危险来自无法预测而且很可能会致命的太阳耀斑,这是恒星能量的大规模爆发,它会以强烈的辐射轰击飞船,煎烤飞船乘员。为保护乘客,王剑钻石计划在飞船内建造 “暴风庇护所”,它可以利用飞船中贮存的水吸收辐射。

Neither firm will start refitting its spacecraft, a process expected to take around three years, until it has sold all the seats on its maiden flights (two for Space Adventures, three for Excalibur Almaz). The companies are marketing their lunar missions to the same high-tech entrepreneurs and ultra-rich thrill-seekers who have snapped up tourist visits to the ISS and suborbital joyrides—long planned, but yet to fly—with firms such as Virgin Galactic。

这两家公司都没有开始重建飞船,这一过程会持续三年,要在公司售出了处女航的所有船票(太空探险两张、王剑钻石三张)之后才开始。已经有一批高科技企业家和追求刺激的超级富豪抓紧机会买了维珍银河(Virgin Galactic)等公司的船票,将要进行计划已久但尚未成行的国际太空站访问,或在环地球轨道上作较短的兜风航行;上述两家公司正向同一批人兜售他们的探月之旅。

Space Adventures already claims to have sold one ticket. That has led Excalibur Almaz to sweeten its deal by offering equity in the company to its first paying passengers. But filling seats may prove tricky. Not only is the asking price more than seven times the $20m cost of a jaunt to the ISS, it also requires months of demanding physical and psychological training. And even if the engineering can be perfected, it remains to be seen how many daredevil billionaires will be willing to spend months cooped up in a metal tube eating freeze-dried food。

太空探险声称他们已经售出了一张船票。这让王剑钻石为自己的服务增加添头,例如向第一批付款买票的顾客赠送本公司的股票等。但让人买票可能会很不容易。这不单因为他们的票价是前往国际空间站的短期访问票价(2000万美元)的7倍以上,而且乘客在旅行前还要接受长达数月之久的高强度体力与心理训练。更何况,即使技术上可以做到毫无问题,去旅游的人依然需要在金属管子里一呆好几个月,只靠啃干冻食品充饥;到底有多少捍不畏死的亿万富翁愿意这样做?人们只能拭目以待。

[注1] 译者没有查到这家公司的中文正式译名,但excalibur有“亚瑟王之剑”、“王者之剑”的意思,almaz有“钻石”的意思,故杜撰此公司译名;请知晓者指点。

有歪词《鹊桥仙-探月》一首为证:

纤云漫卷,

金风传喜,

一展晴空万户。

银河暗渡报牵牛,

看桂阕嫦娥春舞。

联盟不再,

宝石离黍,

莫叹日西时促。

望长剑倚天凌空,

算只在明朝后暮。

附秦观原词:

鹊桥仙 (宋)秦观

纤云弄巧,

飞星传恨,

银汉迢迢暗度。

金风玉露一相逢,

便胜却人间无数。

柔情似水,

佳期如梦,

忍顾鹊桥归路。

两情若是久长时,

又岂在朝朝暮暮。

赵怡琳 本文来源:网易教育论坛 责任编辑:王晓易_NE0011
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