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“天宫一号”再入地球大气层,坠落南太平洋
China’s Space Station Has Finally Fallen Back to Earth

来源:纽约时报    2018-04-02 02:55



        A Chinese space station the size of a school bus re-entered Earth’s atmosphere at about 5:16 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday, scattering its remaining pieces over the southern Pacific Ocean, according to the United States’ Joint Force Space Component Command.        据美国联合部队太空司令部(Joint Force Space Component Command)称,中国一座如校车大小的空间站于太平洋时间周日下午5点16分再次进入地球大气层,残骸散落在南太平洋上。
        The demise of the station, Tiangong-1, became apparent when radar stations no longer detected it passing overhead. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries; the likelihood of pieces’ landing on someone was small, but not zero.        当雷达再也无法监测到它从空中经过时,这座名为“天宫一号”的空间站显然已经报废。没有人员受伤或物品损坏的即时报道;地面上的人被空间站残骸击中的可能性很小,但并非为零。
        The station may have landed northwest of Tahiti, Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said on Twitter. That location is north of the Spacecraft Cemetery, an isolated region in the Pacific Ocean where space debris has frequently landed.        哈佛-斯密松天体物理中心(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)的天文学家乔纳森·麦克道威尔(Jonathan McDowell)在Twitter上表示,空间站或在塔希提岛西北部着陆。这一地点处于“宇宙飞船公墓”(Spacecraft Cemetery)北部,是太平洋上常有太空残骸着陆的偏远区域。
        For the past few weeks the fate of Tiangong-1 has provided some drama. The Chinese lost control of the spacecraft a couple of years ago and thus could not guide it to the middle of an ocean. Because of the drag of air molecules bouncing off Tiangong-1, the station’s altitude dropped, and the descent accelerated quickly in the last few days.        过去的几周内,“天宫一号”的命运引发了一些喧哗。几年前,中国已经失去了对这架航天器的控制,因此无法引导它去往大洋中间。由于空气分子的阻力,“天宫一号”空间站高度下降,并在最后几天内加快了下落的速度。
        Multiple agencies issued predictions of the time of Tiangong-1’s end, most concluding that April 1 was the most likely date. But because it was moving so fast, it was impossible to know where exactly it would come down, and the debris would be scattered over thousands of square miles.        多个机构对“天宫一号”的陨落时间发布预测,大多数结论都认为4月1日是最有可能的日期。但是因为它的速度太快,几乎无法知道它的准确降落位置,残骸的散落范围将达数千平方英里。
        China launched Tiangong-1 — Tiangong translates as “heavenly palace” — in 2011 as essentially a proof-of-concept of technologies for future stations. Two crews of Chinese astronauts visited it, the first for 11 days, the second for 13 days.        中国于2011年发射“天宫一号”(意为“天上的宫殿”),本质上是对未来空间站技术的概念验证。两组中国宇航员曾访问该空间站,第一次访问为期11天,第二次13天。
        In March 2016, the Chinese announced that communications had ended with the space station, but did not provide details. The altitude of the station was last increased three months earlier, in December 2015.        2016年3月,中国宣布与该空间站失联,但并未提供细节。空间站高度的最后一次上升是在此之前的3个月,即2015年12月。
        A second station, Tiangong-2, remains operating in orbit, and over the next few years, China plans to build a larger one        第二个空间站“天宫二号”仍在轨道上运行,在未来几年里,中国计划建造一个更大的空间站。
        For objects as large as Tiangong-1, 0 percent to 40 percent of the mass will make it all the way to Earth’s surface without burning up. But the station is far from being the largest object launched by humans to re-enter the atmosphere.        像“天宫一号”这样大小的物体,其体积的0%到40%不会燃烧殆尽,而是会返回地球表面。但这个空间站远非由人类发射升空再重回大气层的最大物体。
        The Russian Mir space station, with a mass equal to 15 Tiangong-1s, was the largest, but the Russians successfully guided it to a harmless end over the Pacific Ocean in 2001.        最大的是俄罗斯“和平号”(Mir)空间站,体积相当于15个“天空一号”。但俄罗斯人在2001年成功将其引向太平洋上一个无害的目标。
        NASA’s Skylab space station, equal to nine Tiangong-1s, made an uncontrolled tumble back to Earth in 1979. Most of the debris landed in the ocean, but a few pieces did land in Western Australia. No one was hurt.        美国国家航空航天局(NASA)的“太空实验室”(Skylab)空间站相当于9个“天宫一号”,1979年不受控制地坠回地球。大部分残骸降落在海洋,但也有几块落在了西澳大利亚。无人受伤。
                
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