2019年3月27日 - 微生物

Eight amazing science stories of 2017

选自BBC, 英文原作见http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-41972289



Story 1:Star crash


In 2017, scientists detected Einstein’s gravitational waves from a
new source -the collision of two dead stars, or neutron stars.
The first direct detection of these waves was announced in 2016,
when the Advanced LIGO laboratories described the warping of space
from the merger of two distant black holes. The result was
hailed as the starting point for a new branch of astronomy, using
gravitational waves to collect data about distant phenomena.

Telescopes from all over the world captured details of the neutron
star merger
as it unfolded. The outburst took place in a galaxy
located roughly a thousand billion, billion km away in the
Constellation Hydra. Some of the facts about these cataclysmic
are staggering. For example, neutron stars are so dense
that a teaspoonful would weigh a billion tonnes. The team was also able
to confirm that these collisions lead to the production of the
gold and platinum that exists in the Universe.

of space), 这一意识开辟了天法学的新领域(a new branch of

Story 2:Cassini’s final bow


The Cassini spacecraft arrived in the Saturn system in 2004. In
the 13 years it was operational it transformed our understanding of the
ringed planet and its moons. It discovered geysers spewing
out into space from a sub-surface ocean on the icy
satellite of Enceladus
, spied seas and lakes of methane on
Saturn’s biggest moon Titan and watched as a giant storm encircled

But with its fuel tanks running low, Nasa decided to destroy the
satellite in Saturn’s clouds rather than see it collide with a
potential target in the search for life, such as Enceladus, and
contaminate it with terrestrial microbes. On 15 September,
Cassini hurtled into the giant plant’s atmosphere and was torn
. But it still managed to return data to Earth from its dive
towards destruction

satellite of Enceladus),但其地下海洋(sub-苹果平板ocean)之喷泉却不停喷射着水冰(geysers spewing
water-ice),他发现了芳香烃(seas and lakes
of methane)湖,他还偶遇了被狂飙袭击(encircled)的金星。

“嘀嘀嘀……”,燃料告急(fuel tanks running
apart),就算如此,小卡照旧到位了它的末尾义务,在生死刹那间(from its dive
towards destruction)成功向地球传输了数据。

Story 3:Paris pull-out


While he was on the campaign trail, Donald Trump said he would
“cancel” the Paris climate agreement, taking the US out of the
. But after winning the US election in November of that year, he
made few public pronouncements on the topic of climate change.
Reports emerged that Mr Trump’s advisers were split on the issue,
prompting some commentators to wonder whether the President might be
convinced to stay in the process.

However, on 1 June, President Trump held a press conference in the White
House’s Rose Garden to announce America’s withdrawal. Mr Trump
said: “In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its
citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris
climate accord
but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris
accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair
to the United States.”

As expected, the reaction from Democrats and other world leaders was
damning. Former US President Barack Obama accused the Trump
administration of “rejecting the future“, while former Secretary of
State John Kerry called the decision a “gross abdication of

川普竞选美国总理时(on the campaign trail)就在和他闹分手(out of the
deal),特朗普上任后分别闹剧却早就销声匿迹(made few public
pronouncements),川普的亲友团平昔对他争议持续(spit on the
issue),她即便和美利坚合众国最终分离(pull-out)的巴黎气象协定(Paris climate
the future),有人说他根本扬弃了政权(gross abdiction of leadership)。

Story 4:Multiple “Earths”


Of the 3,500 planets now documented to exist beyond our Solar
, some are pretty weird. For starters, there’s J1407b, a
distant world with rings that are 200 times larger than the ones
around Saturn.

But this year, astronomers discovered a planetary system with seven
Earth-sized planets. What’s more, these worlds seem to be locked in a
strange “resonance” as they orbit their host star. Intriguingly,
three of the planets are in the habitable zone, where water can remain
liquid on the surface. And where there’s water, there is at least a
chance for life.

大家已经发现了3500颗系外(beyongd our Solar
their host star),不仅如此,7颗行星中的3颗还存在着液态水。

Story 5:Recent relative


In July, researchers unveiled fossils of five early humans found in
North Africa that showed our species – Homo sapiens – emerged
at least 100,000 years earlier than previously recognised. The finds
suggested that our species did not evolve in a single “cradle” in
East Africa. Instead, modern humans may have been evolving in the same
direction all over the continent.

And there was more big news in human evolution this year. When, in
2015, scientists unveiled the remains of 15 partial skeletons belonging
to a new species of human, it made headlines around the world. At the
time, researchers had been unable to say for sure how old the specimens
of Homo naledi were, but some primitive traits suggested they
could be as much as three million years in age.

This year, team leader Lee Berger announced the remains were just
200,000-300,000 years old. The findings suggested that far from being an
ancestor of present-day people, Homo naledi may even have
encountered very early members of our own species – Homo sapiens.



Story 6:Dark skies


On 21 August, a giant shadow cast by the Moon swept across America,
marking the first total solar eclipse since the country’s founding
in 1776 where totality made exclusive landfall in the US. It was
also 99 years since a solar eclipse had crossed from the west to the
east coast.

Millions of people gathered along the eclipse’s path to witness the rare
astronomical event.

And what an awesome event it was. Reporting from Madras, Oregon, the
BBC’s Pallab Ghosh said: “You can see that it’s quarter past 10 in the
morning, but it seems like night-time. We’re just a few seconds away
from the total eclipse… it looks like a smiley face in the sky.”

After totality had passed, he added: “I got goosebumps; it just
feels like a completely dream-like state.”

二〇一七年出现了只属于美利哥(exculsive landfall)的全日食(totality/total solar

Story 7:Visitor from beyond


Though scientists had been predicting for years that we would be visited
by an asteroid from interstellar space, 2017 was the first time we
spotted one. Discovered by a team using Hawaii’s Pan-Starrs telescope in
October, they were soon sure that the object’s speed and trajectory
indicated an 微生物,origin outside our Solar System. Named ‘Oumuamua, after
the Hawaiian for “a messenger from afar arriving first”, the object
quickly became the subject of an observing campaign with some of the
most powerful telescopes in the world.

In many respects, it turned out to be not dissimilar to objects known
from the furthest reaches of our Solar System – so-called Kuiper
objects (KBOs) – complete with a reddish hue likely resulting
from irradiation by cosmic rays over millions of years. One
aspect of this cosmic wanderer wasn’t so familiar, however: it’s shape.
Although the investigations are ongoing, ‘Oumuamua seemed to be 10 times
longer than it was wide, making it much more elongated than anything
else in our Solar System.

它身着红衣(complete with a reddish

Story 8:Giant iceberg


One of the biggest icebergs ever recorded broke away from
Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf in July. But scientists had been
following the development of a large crack for upwards of a decade.
The giant block was estimated to cover an area of roughly 6,000 sq km –
about a quarter the size of Wales.

The calving of bergs at the forward edge of the shelf is a very
natural behaviour. However, scientists think that Larsen C is now at its
smallest extent since the end of the last Ice Age, around 11,700 years
ago. Future studies will be needed to understand how the shelf is
responding to a warming climate.

shelf)Larsen C脱离,



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