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On December 8, 2018, China successfully launched Chang'e-4 probe with Long March No. 3 B carrier rocket at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, opening a new journey of lunar exploration. On January 3, 2019, after a 26-day orbital flight around the moon, Chang'e-4 successfully landed at the moon's Antarctic-Von Carmen crater, representing the first landing of all mankind on the back of the moon, and launched a lunar tour, which was a great trip to the moon.

2018年12月8日,中国在西昌卫星发射中心用长征三号乙运载火箭成功发射嫦娥四号探测器,开启了月球探测的新旅程。2019年1月3日,经过为期26天的环月轨道飞行后,嫦娥四号探测器顺利着陆月球南极—冯·卡门陨坑,代表全人类首次登陆造访月球背面,并开展月球巡视,这是一次伟大的落月之旅。

China became the third country to land a probe on the Moon on Jan. 3. But, more importantly, it became the first to do so on the far side of the moon, often called the dark side. The ability to land on the far side of the moon is a technical achievement in its own right, one that neither Russia nor the United States has pursued.

1月3日,中国成为世界上第三个将探测器送上月球的国家。但更重要的是,它第一次将探测器送到月球的远端,通常被称为黑暗的一面。能够在月球远端着陆本身就是一项技术成就,这点俄罗斯和美国都没有做到。



The probe, Chang’e 4, is symbolic of the growth of the Chinese space program and the capabilities it has amassed, significant for China and for relations among the great power across the world. The consequences extend to the United States as the Trump administration considers global competition in space as well as the future of space exploration.

嫦娥四号探测器象征着中国太空计划的发展及其能力的积累,对中国与世界大国之间的关系具有重要意义。随着特朗普政府考虑太空领域的全球竞争以及太空的未来探索,其影响将延伸到美国。

One of the major drivers of U.S. space policy historically has been competition with Russia particularly in the context of the Cold War. If China’s successes continue to accumulate, could the United States find itself engaged in a new space race?

历史上,美国太空政策的主要推动力之一是与俄罗斯的竞争,尤其是在冷战时期。如果中国的成功继续累积,美国是否会发现自己卷入了一场新的太空竞赛?

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This does not mean the Chinese were not concerned about the global power space efforts can generate. In 1992, they concluded that having a space station would be a major sign and source of prestige in the 21st century. As such, a human spaceflight program was re-established leading to the development of the Shenzhou spacecraft. The first Chinese astronaut, or taikonaut, Yang Liwei, was launched in 2003. In total, six Shenzhou missions have carried 12 taikonauts into low earth orbit, including two to China’s first space station, Tiangong-1.

这并不意味着中国不关心太空探索所能产生的全球能源。1992年中国得出结论,拥有空间站将是21世纪一个重要标志和威望来源。因此,人类航天计划重新建立,促进了神州飞船的发展。2003年,中国第一位宇航员杨利伟随神州五号发射升空。总共有6次神舟飞行任务将12名宇航员送入近地轨道,其中包括两次进入中国第一个空间站——天宫一号。

In addition to human spaceflight, the Chinese have also undertaken scientific missions like Chang’e 4. Its first lunar mission, Chang’e 1, orbited the moon in October 2007 and a rover landed on the moon in 2013. China’s future plans include a new space station, a lunar base and possible sample return missions from Mars.

除了载人航天飞行,中国还承担了像嫦娥四号这样的科学任务。它的第一次探月任务是嫦娥一号于2007年10月绕月飞行,2013年一辆月球车登陆月球。中国未来的计划包括一个新的空间站,一个月球基地,以及可能从火星带回样本的任务。

A new space race?
The most notable feature of the Chinese space program, especially compared to the early American and Russian programs, is its slow and steady pace. Because of the secrecy that surrounds many aspects of the Chinese space program, its exact capabilities are unknown. However, the program is likely on par with its counterparts.

意味着一场新的太空竞赛吗?
中国航天计划最显著的特点,特别是与早期的美国和俄罗斯的计划相比,是其缓慢而稳定的步伐。由于中国太空计划的许多方面都是保密的,它的确切能力还不得而知。然而,该计划很可能与其他同类计划并驾齐驱。

In terms of military applications, China has also demonstrated significant skills. In 2007, it undertook an anti-satellite test, launching a ground-based missile to destroy a failed weather satellite. While successful, the test created a cloud of orbital debris that continues to threaten other satellites. The movie “Gravity” illustrated the dangers space debris poses to both satellites and humans. In its 2018 report on the Chinese military, the Department of Defense reported that China’s military space program “continues to mature rapidly.”

在军事应用方面,中国也展示了高超的技术。2007年,中国进行了一次反卫星测试,发射了一枚地面导弹摧毁一颗失灵的气象卫星。这次试验虽然成功,但产生了大量轨道碎片,继续威胁着其他卫星。电影《地心引力》展示了太空碎片对卫星和人类造成的危险。美国国防部在其2018年中国军事报告中称,中国的军事太空计划“继续迅速成熟”。

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Regardless, China’s abilities in space are growing to the extent that is reflected in popular culture. In Andy Weir’s 2011 novel “The Martian” and its later film version, NASA turns to China to help rescue its stranded astronaut. While competition can lead to advances in technology, as the first space race demonstrated, a greater global capacity for space exploration can also be beneficial not only for saving stranded astronauts but increasing knowledge about the universe where we all live. Even if China’s rise heralds a new space race, not all consequences will be negative.

无论如何,中国的太空实力正在增长,这在流行文化中得到了体现。在安迪·韦尔(Andy Weir) 2011年的小说《火星救援》(The Martian)及其后来的电影版中,美国国家航空航天局(NASA)向中国求助,以营救其受困的宇航员。正如第一次太空竞赛所表明的那样,竞争可以导致技术的进步,更大的全球空间探索能力也可能不仅有利于拯救受困的宇航员,还有助于增进对我们生活的宇宙的了解。即使中国的崛起预示着一场新的太空竞赛,也不是所有的结果都是负面的。