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美国总统奥巴马近日在CNN网站发布文章称,美国政府将在本世纪30年代到来之前将人类送上火星并安全返回。在文章中奥巴马提到,除了各领域的顶尖专家,美国还有上千个商业公司在从事航天研发业务。接下来两年中会首次有私人企业送宇航员去国际太空站。在为CNN撰写的一篇文章中,奥巴马公布了他为太空探索设立的短期目标:执行前往火星的载人航天任务、让宇航员安然无恙地返回地球,以及实现长期居留的“雄心壮志”。

One of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandfather's shoulders, waving a flag as our astronauts returned to Hawaii. This was years before we'd set foot on the moon. Decades before we'd land a rover on Mars. A generation before photos from the International Space Station would show up in our social media feeds.

我最早的回忆之一,就是我坐在祖父的肩头上,挥舞着小旗子,迎接宇航员们返回夏威夷。在那之后,又过了几年,我们才成功登月;又过了几十年,我们才向火星上发射了一台登陆器;又过了一代人的时间,国际空间站拍摄的照片才得以出现在社交媒体上。

I still have the same sense of wonder about our space program that I did as a child. It represents an essential part of our character -- curiosity and exploration, innovation and ingenuity, pushing the boundaries of what's possible and doing it before anybody else. The space race we won not only contributed immeasurably important technological and medical advances, but it also inspired a new generation of scientists and engineers with the right stuff to keep America on the cutting edge.

而时至今日,我对太空项目的惊奇之心仍与童年时无异。它代表了人类性格中至关重要的一部分——好奇心和探索精神,创新精神和巧妙的技艺,不断挑战可能性的极限,并争先恐后地去实现它。我们赢得了这场太空竞赛,不仅对科技和医学的进步做出了巨大贡献,还激励了新一代的科学家和工程师,让美国始终走在时代前列。

That's one of the reasons why, in my first address as President to the American people, I vowed to return science to its rightful place. In our first few months, my administration made the largest single investment in basic research in our history, and I went to the Kennedy Space Center to call for reimagining and reinvigorating our space program to explore more of our solar system and look deeper into the universe than ever.

因此,在我首次以总统身份向美国人民发表致辞时,我曾发誓说,要让科学发挥其应有的作用。在我任期的头几个月中,我们做出了迄今为止在基础研究上给出的最大一笔单项投资,我还来到了肯尼迪航天中心,呼吁大家一起使太空项目重新焕发生机,进一步探索我们的太阳系,并更加深入地研究宇宙。

In the years since, we've revitalized technology innovation at NASA, extended the life of the International Space Station, and helped American companies create private-sector jobs by capitalizing on the untapped potential of the space industry.

在那之后的几年间,我们重振了NASA的科技创新精神,延长了国际空间站的工作寿命,并向未开发领域的太空企业投资,帮助美国私营企业创造出了更多的工作机会。

Last year alone, NASA discovered flowing water on Mars and evidence of ice on one of Jupiter's moons, and we mapped Pluto -- more than 3 billion miles away -- in high-resolution. Our space telescopes revealed additional Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars, and we're pursuing new missions to interact with asteroids, which will help us learn how to protect the Earth from the threat of colliding with one while also teaching us about the origins of life on Earth. We've flown by every planet in the solar system -- something no other nation can say. And we continue to drive down the cost of space exploration for taxpayers.

仅仅在去年一年当中,NASA就实现了几大壮举:在火星上发现了液态水、在木星其中一颗卫星上发现了冰的迹象、还给距地球30亿英里(约合48亿公里)之遥的冥王星拍摄了高分辨率照片。我们的太空望远镜成功找到了一些围绕着遥远的星球运转的类地行星,我们还开展了一些与小行星有关的新任务,这将帮助我们更好地了解该如何保护地球、免遭小行星碰撞的威胁,其中一项研究还让我们对地球上的生命起源有了更好的了解。我们已经飞掠了太阳系中的每一颗行星,别的国家都不曾做到过这一点。此外,我们还在不断降低太空探索的成本,减轻纳税人的负担。

This week, we'll convene some of America's leading scientists, engineers, innovators and students in Pittsburgh to dream up ways to build on our progress and find the next frontiers. Just five years ago, US companies were shut out of the global commercial launch market. Today, thanks to groundwork laid by the men and women of NASA, they own more than a third of it. More than 1,000 companies across nearly all 50 states are working on private space initiatives.

本周,我们将在匹兹堡召集一些美国顶尖的科学家、工程师、创新人士和学生,一起设想我们该如何继续进步下去,并找到下一个挑战的目标。仅仅五年以前,在全球商业火箭发射市场上,美国企业还被人拒之门外。而如今,多谢NASA工作人员的兢兢业业,我们已经占领了全球市场的三分之一。在全美将近50个州里,已经有超过1000家企业正在开展私人太空探索工作。

We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time. Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we're already well on our way. Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station.

为了翻开美国太空探索的新篇章,我们已经设立了一个清晰的目标:在本世纪30年代之前,把人类送上火星,然后再让他们安然无恙地返回地球;同时还要抱有更大的雄心壮志,有朝一日让宇航员在火星上停留更长时间。要想实现火星之旅,政府和私营创新企业之间需要展开进一步合作,而我们已经在这方面着手努力了。在接下来两年内,私营企业将首次把宇航员送上国际空间站。

The next step is to reach beyond the bounds of Earth's orbit. I'm excited to announce that we are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space. These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth -- something we'll need for the long journey to Mars.

而下一步便是飞出地球的轨道。我在此怀着激动的心情宣布,我们正在与商业领域的合作伙伴联手,共同打造新的太空居所,供宇航员在深空中执行长期任务时维持生活和进行运输。这些任务可以帮助我们了解,人类能在距离地球多远的地方生活——如果我们要开展前往火星的长途旅行,这些信息都是我们需要去了解的。

The reporter who covered the moon landing for The New York Times, John Noble Wilford, later wrote that Mars tugs at our imagination "with a force mightier than gravity." Getting there will take a giant leap. But the first, small steps happen when our students -- the Mars generation -- walk into their classrooms each day. Scientific discovery doesn't happen with the flip of a switch; it takes years of testing, patience and a national commitment to education.

为《纽约时报》撰写了登月报告的记者约翰•诺伯•威尔福德后来写道,火星对我们的吸引力“比地心引力还大”。如果能到达火星,那将是一次巨大的飞跃。但在此之前,我们需要一步步地来。我们的学生每次迈进教室、学习知识,都是一次微小的进步,他们是“火星一代”。科学发现得来不易,它需要经历长年累月的测试和耐心、还需要整个国家对教育的重视。

President Eisenhower knew this: In 1958, he devoted great resources to science and math education around the same time he created NASA. And it's why I'm proud that we've passed important milestones in STEM education. For the first time, more than 100,000 engineers are graduating from American schools every year, and we're on track to accomplish my goal of training 100,000 excellent new STEM teachers in a decade.

艾森豪威尔总统就清楚地认识到了这一点。1958年,差不多就在他创立NASA的那段时间,他还向科学和数学教育领域投入了大量资源。正因为如此,我才因为我们在STEM教育(即科学、技术、工程、数学)中取得的成就而自豪。有史以来第一次,每年都有10万名工程师从美国的学校中毕业,而我们也正在实现我设定的、在十年内训练出10万名卓越的STEM教师这一目标。

When our Apollo astronauts looked back from space, they realized that while their mission was to explore the moon, they had "in fact discovered the Earth." If we make our leadership in space even stronger in this century than it was in the last, we won't just benefit from related advances in energy, medicine, agriculture and artificial intelligence, we'll benefit from a better understanding of our environment and ourselves.

当阿波罗号上的宇航员在太空中回望地球时,他们意识到,虽然他们的任务是探索月球,但他们“实际上也发现了地球”。如果我们本世纪能进一步确立太空探索在这个国家的领先地位,我们不仅能从相关领域、如能源、医学、农业和人工智能中大大受益,还能更好地理解我们的环境、以及我们自身,并从中受益无穷。

Someday, I hope to hoist my own grandchildren onto my shoulders. We'll still look to the stars in wonder, as humans have since the beginning of time. But instead of eagerly awaiting the return of our intrepid explorers, we'll know that because of the choices we make now, they've gone to space not just to visit, but to stay -- and in doing so, to make our lives better here on Earth.

有朝一日,我希望也能让自己的孙辈坐在我的肩头上。我们仍会满怀好奇地凝视夜空中的繁星,就像人类自古以来做的那样。但到那时,我们将不是等待勇敢的探险者从太空中归来,因为我们知道,由于我们现在所做的决定,他们前往太空并不是进行短期拜访,而是长期地停留——并通过这种做法,让地球上的生活更加美好。

 
 

图文来源:中国日报英语点津

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