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China’s Chang’e-4 Launches on Mission to the Moon’s Far Side

中国嫦娥四号探测器飞向月球远端



China is aiming to go where no one has gone before: the far side of the moon.

中国的目标是去其他人从未去过的地方:月球的远端。

A rocket carrying the Chang’e-4 lunar lander blasted off at about 2:23 a.m. local time on Saturday from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China. (In the United States, it was still midday Friday). Chinese authorities did not broadcast the launch, but an unofficial live stream recorded near the site showed the rocket rise from the launchpad until its flames looked like a bright star in the area’s dark skies.

当地时间周六凌晨2点23分左右,搭载嫦娥四号探测器的火箭从中国南部的西昌卫星发射中心发射升空。(美国时间时周五中午)。中国没有播放发射过程,但是有一段发射场附近录的非官方现场视频,视频从火箭从发射台升起开始,一直到火箭火焰在黑暗的天空中看起来像一颗明亮的星星为止。

[copy]Nearly one hour later, Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency reported that Chang’e-4 had successfully launched.

大约一个小时后,中国官方通讯社新华社发表了嫦娥四号发射成功的报道。

Exactly when it will set down at its destination has not yet been announced — possibly in early January — but Chang’e-4 will provide the first close-up look at a part of the moon that is eternally out of view from Earth.

嫦娥四号探测器确切的着陆时间还没有宣布,可能是在2019年1月初,但嫦娥四号将首次近距离观察从地球上永远看不到月球那部分。

What is Chang’e-4?
Chang’e-4 includes two main parts: the main lander weighing about 2,400 pounds and a 300-pound rover. By comparison, NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars weighs about 400 pounds, and the Curiosity rover there is much bigger, at 2,000 pounds.

嫦娥四号是什么?
嫦娥四号包括两个主要部分:重约2400磅的主着陆器和重约300磅的探测器。对比一下,美国宇航局的“机遇号”火星探测器重约400磅,而“好奇号”火星探测器要大得多,重达2000磅。

The spacecraft is largely a clone of Chang’e-3, which landed on the moon in 2013. Indeed, Chang’e-4 was built as the backup in case the first attempt failed. With the success — the first soft landing of any spacecraft on the moon since 1976 — the Chinese outfitted Chang’e-4 with a different set of instruments and decided to send it to a different location.

这艘飞船很大程度上是2013年登陆月球的嫦娥三号复制品。其实当时嫦娥四号是作为备品准备的,以防第一次登月尝试失败。1976年以来,中国首次实现了航天器在月球上的软着陆。随着这一成功,中国为嫦娥四号配备了不同的仪器,并决定将其送往不同的地点。

Where is Chang’e-4 going?
The rover will land in the 110-mile-wide Von Kármán crater. It is on the far side of the moon, which is always facing away from Earth. (The moon is what planetary scientists call “tidally locked” to the rotation of the Earth. That is, its period of rotation — its day — is the same as the time it takes to make one orbit around Earth.)

嫦娥四号要去哪?
探测器将在110英里宽的冯·卡曼陨石坑着陆。这里位于月球的另一侧,月球永远以同一面朝向着地球。(行星科学家认为由于地球自转月球被“潮汐锁定了”。也就是说,潮汐锁定的月球绕自身的轴旋转一圈要花上绕着地球公转一圈相同的时间。)

The crater is within an area known as the South Pole-Aitken basin, a gigantic, 1,600-mile-wide crater at the bottom of the moon, which has a mineralogy distinct from other locations. That may reflect materials from the inside of the moon that were brought up by the impact that created the basin.

这个陨石坑位于南极-艾特肯盆地内,南极-艾托肯盆地是月球底部1600英里宽的巨大陨石坑,这里的矿物与其他地区有很大的不同。这可能反映了月球内部的物质,这些物质是由撞击形成的盆地所带来的。

The far side is also considerably more mountainous than the near side for reasons not yet understood.

月球背面比近地端的山多很多,原因尚不清楚。

What will Chang’e-4 study?
The suite of instruments on the rover and the lander include cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers to help identify the composition of rocks and dirt in the area. And China’s space agency has collaborated with other countries. One instrument was developed at Kiel University in Germany; another was provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.

嫦娥四号研究什么?
探测器和着陆器上的一系列仪器包括照相机、探地雷达和光谱仪,以帮助识别该地区的岩石和泥土成分。中国航天局还与其他国家合作。有一套仪器是德国基尔大学开发的;另一套是瑞典空间物理研究所提供的。

The instruments will probe the structure of the rocks beneath the spacecraft and study the effects of the solar wind striking the lunar surface. Chang’e-4 will also test the ability of making radio astronomy observations from the far side of the moon, without the effects of noise and interference from Earth.

这些仪器将探测航天器下面岩石的结构,并研究太阳风对月球表面的影响。嫦娥四号还将在没有地球噪音和干扰的月球背面测试射电天文的观测能力。

According to the Xinhua news agency, Chang’e-4 is also carrying an intriguing biology experiment to see if plant seeds will germinate and silkworm eggs will hatch in the moon’s low gravity.

据新华社报道,嫦娥四号还将进行一项有趣的生物学实验,看看植物种子是否会发芽,蚕卵是否会在月球的低引力下孵化。

How will the spacecraft communicate with Earth?
Because the moon blocks radio signals from our planet, the Chinese launched a satellite, called Queqiao, in May. It is circling high over the far side of the moon, and will relay messages between Earth and the Chang’e-4 lander.

航天器如何与地球通讯?
由于月球阻挡了来自地球的无线电信号,中国在五月发射了一颗名叫“鹊桥”的卫星。这颗卫星在月球远端上空盘旋,将在地球和嫦娥四号着陆器之间传递信息。

When will Chang’e-4 land on the moon?
China’s space agency has not announced a landing date, though some expect that will be the first week of January, when the sun will be shining over the far side of the moon, an important consideration because Chang’e-4 is solar-powered.

嫦娥四号什么时候登陆月球?
中国航天局还没有宣布具体着陆日期,不过有人预测将在一月的第一周,届时太阳将照耀月球的另一边,这是个重要的考虑因素,因为嫦娥四号是太阳能驱动的。

Zhang Xiaoping, an associate professor from Space Science Institute/Lunar and Planetary Science Laboratory of Macau University of Science and Technology, said that the spacecraft would follow the Chang’e-3’s trajectory. That means it would arrive in three to five days and then orbit the moon for several days (13 in the case of Chang’e-3) while preparing for the landing, he said.

来自澳门科技大徐月球与行星科学实验室的张小平助理教授说,航天器将沿着嫦娥三号的轨道飞行。他说,这意味着嫦娥四号将在三到五天内到达月球,然后会绕着月球飞行几天,为着陆做准备(嫦娥三号当时绕着月球飞行了13天)。

Wait, I thought the far side of the moon was dark.
The far side is not dark all of the time.

等等,我一直一位月亮的背面一直是黑的。
月球背面并不总是黑的。

The first new moon of 2019 is Jan. 6. That’s when you cannot see the moon because the dark side — the side that is in shadow facing away from the sun — is facing Earth. And when the near side of the moon is dark, the far side is awash in bright sunshine.

2019年的第一个新月是1月6日。这一天你看不到,因为月球的暗面,也就是背对太阳的一面,正对着地球。当月球的近侧是暗面的时候,那月球的远端也就是背面则沐浴在明亮的阳光中。

Why is China so secretive about all of this?
Chinese officials have talked about Chang’e-4 in public, but their interactions with journalists more resemble the carefully managed strategy used by the Soviet program during the Cold War rather than the more open publicity by NASA and many other space agencies. That way, the Chinese, like the Soviets, could boast about the successes and downplay any failures.

为什么中国对这次发射保密?
中国官员曾公开谈论过嫦娥四号,但他们与记者的互动更像是冷战期间苏联采用的精心安排战略,而不是美国宇航局和其他许多太空机构的公开宣传。这样,中国人就可以像苏联人一样,成功了大吹大擂,失败了则轻描淡写。

What does Chang’e mean?
In Chinese mythology, Chang’e is the goddess of the moon. Other missions have been named after her, too.
Chang’e-1 and 2 went into orbit around the moon but did not land. Chang’e-1 was launched in 2007. Chang’e-2 followed in 2010.

嫦娥是什么意思?
中国神话中,嫦娥是月亮女神。中国其他任务也是以她的名字命名的。
嫦娥一号和嫦娥二号进入绕月轨道绕月飞行,但没有着陆。2007年嫦娥一号发射升空。2010年,嫦娥二号紧随其后。

The next step in China’s moon program is for the Chang’e-5 robotic spacecraft to land on the moon and then bring rock samples back to Earth for additional study.
Chang’e-5 was supposed to head to the moon before Chang’e-4, but a launch failure of the large Chinese rocket needed to carry it to space delayed the mission until at least 2019.

中国的下一步探月计划是让嫦娥五号无人飞船登陆月球,然后将岩石样本带回地球进行进一步研究。
嫦娥五号原本计划在嫦娥四号之前登月,但运载嫦娥五号的大型火箭发射失败,将这一任务至少推迟到了2019年。

Who else is planning to go to the moon?
Next year, the Indian government is planning to launch a mission, Chandrayaan-2, that includes an orbiter, a lander and a rover. SpaceIL, an Israeli team that was a finalist in the Google Lunar X Prize, is also still aiming to send a robotic lander to the moon early next year, even though the $20 million prize has expired.

还有谁计划去月球?
明年,印度政府计划执行“月船二号”飞行任务,该任务包括轨道飞行器、着陆器和探测车。曾入围谷歌月球X大奖赛的以色列团队SpaceIL也计划明年初向月球发射机器着陆器,尽管该团队获得的2,000万美元奖金已经过期。

NASA announced last week that nine companies will compete for robotic missions to carry science experiments to the moon. The space agency said the first of those could go as early as 2019, but most of the companies said they would not be ready until 2021.

美国国家宇航局上周宣布,九家公司将参与竞争将科学实验设备送往月球的任务。美国航天局表示,首批试验设备最早可能在2019年投入使用,但大多数公司表示要到2021年才能准备就绪。

Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator, has praised the Chang’e-4 mission as exciting, and at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany in October, talked of possible collaboration with the Chinese space agency. Federal laws limit any NASA interaction with the Chinese.

美国国家宇航局局长吉姆·布里登斯廷称赞嫦娥四号的任务令人兴奋。去年10月,在德国不来梅举行的国际宇航大会上,布里登斯廷谈到了与中国航天局合作的可能性。不过联邦法律限制美国国家宇航局与中国的所有交流与合作。