180213期:绕着地球转的车

绕着地球转的车

一辆由人类与机器人共同建造的汽车在上个星期绕地球轨道环行。这款汽车,由SpaceX公司发射,以展示其猎鹰重型火箭在太阳系中放置航天器的能力。一个人体模型静坐于驾驶座,身着宇航服,美其名曰星侠。与水泥块相比,这奇异怪诞的造型显然更适合作为有效载荷的模拟对象。车上共设三部摄影机,由汽车电箱供电,目前电量已耗尽。这张特写便是从此前所得的录像中截取的一帧。这辆汽车附属于第二级助推器,不出意外,它即将离开地球轨道,然后无限期地在地球与小行星带之间绕着太阳转,或许要到数十亿年以后太阳膨胀成一个红巨星方止。如果未来其残骸被发现,必将成为窥探20世纪至21世纪初地球科技发展的独特窗口。

翻译:银河说翻译组 俞天丽

审核:银河说顾问组 一米

                                        Car Orbiting Earth
                                           Credit: SpaceX                                                                                Explanation: Last week, a car orbited the Earth. The car, created by humans and robots on the Earth, was launched by the SpaceX Company to demonstrate the ability of its Falcon Heavy Rocket to place spacecraft out in the Solar System. Purposely fashioned to be whimsical, the iconic car was thought a better demonstration object than concrete blocks. A mannequin clad in a spacesuit — dubbed the Starman — sits in the driver’s seat. The featured image is a frame from a video taken by one of three cameras mounted on the car. These cameras, connected to the car’s battery, are now out of power. The car, attached to a second stage booster, soon left Earthorbit and will orbit the Sun between Earth and the asteroid belt indefinitely — perhaps until billions of years from now when our Sun expands into a Red Giant. If ever recovered, what’s left of the car may become a unique window into technologies developed on Earth in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

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