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从火星返回地球的奇妙方案
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And there’s growing enthusiasm for going to Mars. We’ll be talking about getting there, which is one thing, but we’ll also be talking about getting back, which is another thing altogether.
人们对火星的关注度越来越高。我们将谈一谈如何到达火星,这是一码事,还将讨论如何返回地球,这是另一码事。

GEORGE LEOPOLD: …Then there’s the story we had this past week about these guys who have one of the great aspirational goals I think I’ve ever heard, which is: how do you get back? And their idea is, we’re going to send a 3D printer to the surface of Mars. It’s a company Relativity Space that’s making rockets and rocket engine components using 3D printers.
GEORGE LEOPOLD: 我们上周报道了一个故事——是关于一群人,他们拥有非常宏伟的目标之一:如何返回地球?他们的想法是:向火星表面发射一台3D打印机。这是一家名为Relativity Space的公司提出的,该公司使用3D打印机制造火箭和火箭发动机组件。

In 1877, astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli announced that he had detected the existence of canals on Mars. In 1897, H.G. Wells published “The War of the Worlds.” The fascination with the red planet has never abated since. Or “The Martian Chronicles.” Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic trilogy — “Red Mars,” “Green Mars” and “Blue Mars.” Recently there was the National Geographic TV show called, simply, “Mars.”
1877年,天文学家Giovanni Schiaparelli声称在火星上检测到运河的存在。1897年,H.G. Wells出版《星际战争》(The War of the Worlds)。从那时起,人们对火星这个红色星球的迷恋从未减弱。其它类似题材的还有《火星纪事》(The Martian Chronicles);Kim Stanley Robinson的三部曲《红火星》(Red Mars)、《绿火星》(Green Mars)和《蓝火星》(Blue Mars)。近期还有一个国家地理电视节目,直接就命名为《火星》。

In recent years there’s been a growing desire to take a visit to Mars out of the realm of fiction. People are proposing actually going, perhaps no one more earnestly than the always fascinating Elon Musk, who recently unveiled a gleaming new rocket of a design that might, in fact, get us to the red planet. EE Times and EDN, our stable mate here at AspenCore Media, have been keeping track of what it may take, from an engineering perspective, to get to Mars. From an engineering perspective, one of the several enormous challenges about a trip to Mars is … returning.
近年来,人们越来越渴望探访火星,而不仅仅停留在科幻小说中。人们提议真正意义上的去火星,其中最专注的莫过于Elon Musk,他最近推出了一款吸睛的新火箭,实际上,该火箭的设计也许真能带我们前往火星。AspenCore Media旗下的EE Times和EDN一直从工程角度关注着如何到达火星这一动态。 从工程角度来看,前往火星的几大挑战之一就是……如何返回地球。

This week, we invited our resident space expert, George Leopold, to talk with us about a bold plan to get back from Mars, should we ever go. I would like to just take a moment to point out how pleased we are to be able to say we actually have our very own space expert.
本周,我们邀请到太空专家George Leopold与我们讨论一项大胆的计划:如果我们真要去火星的话,如何从火星返回。我想在这里占用一点时间表达一下我的感受,能够拥有自己的航天专家,我们是由衷感到高兴。

But anyway, I asked George the first, most obvious question about going to Mars.
不过无论如何,我问George,首先,也是首要的关于去火星的问题。

Is it really practical to get to Mars any time soon? Soon meaning 10 years?
人们不久就能到达火星现实吗? 不久是指10年?

GEORGE LEOPOLD: That’s a good question. Yeah, Musk just gave an update on this Starship Hopper that I think he's gotten up a couple hundred feet and then brought it back down, and I think they're in the process of trying to scale the thing up. And so then there's that, then there's the story we had this past week about these guys who have one of the great aspirational goals I think I've ever heard, which is, How do you get back? And their idea is, We're going to send a 3D printer to the surface of Mars. It's a company Relativity Space that's making rockets and rocket engine components using 3D printers.
GEORGE LEOPOLD: 这是个好问题。是的,Musk只是对这艘Starship Hopper进行了升级,我认为Musk已经让它能升到几百英尺高,然后又返回原处,我想他们正在努力让它能到达更高的高度。就是这样,我们上周报道了一则故事——关于这群人,他们的目标非常宏伟:如何返回地球?他们的想法是:我们将向火星表面发射一台3D打印机。这是一家名为Relativity Space的公司提出的,该公司使用3D打印机制造火箭和火箭发动机组件。

BRIAN SANTO: Well we should probably stop for a second. I mean, is it commonly known that just getting there would rule out coming back?
BRIAN SANTO: 让我先打断一下。我的意思是,普遍认知是只要到了火星就回不来了吗?

GEORGE LEOPOLD: Yeah. In many ways it's probably a one-way trip because it's a minimum of nine months' one-way trip there. You gotta bring all your consumables, you gotta get down to the surface, and then how do you get off the surface? That means you've got to bring a hell of a lot of propellant with you. And some of the scenarios that have been proposed is you make the fuel from the components you have on the surface.
GEORGE LEOPOLD: 是的,从多个角度来看,这可能是趟单程旅行,因为要到达火星至少需要经过9个月的单程旅行。你必须带上所有补给品,然后降落到火星表面,之后要怎么离开火星呢? 这意味着你必须带上足够多的推进剂。现在有提出一种方案——从火星地表的物质中获得燃料。

BRIAN SANTO: And that was always the thing about finding ice, being able to break it down for not only oxygen, but hydrogen to use for fuel, right?
BRIAN SANTO: 关键一直在于要找到冰,因为冰不仅能够分解出氧气,且可以分解出氢气用作燃料,对吗?

GEORGE LEOPOLD: Yeah. You could make propellants. And their idea is that there are, they called them "weldable" products on the surface of Mars — namely iron — that you could use in a metal 3D printer to make the things that Relativity Space is now making on Earth. And it's, so it addresses this problem of how do you get back, because that really hasn't been solved, and it's quite likely that any scenario now is probably a one-way trip. And interestingly, there are lots of people that are willing to do that.
GEORGE LEOPOLD: 是的,这样就能制造出推进剂。Musk他们的想法是,他们称其为火星表面上的“可焊接”产品(即铁),就可以用于金属3D打印机,跟Relativity Space在地球上制造的东西一样。 这样就可以解决返回地球的问题,因为这个问题仍待解决。目前来讲,任何场景可能都是一个单程旅行。有趣的是,依旧有很多人愿意这样做。

BRIAN SANTO: Yeah, it's amazing. So this presumes the ability to mine, I would suppose. Are the constituent elements that you need to build what you need there just lying on the surface?
BRIAN SANTO: 是的,太奇妙了。 我想这是假设有挖掘能力。建造所需物品的材料在火星表面就可以找到?

GEORGE LEOPOLD: Yeah, those are all of the things that would clearly have to be figured out before they could even attempt something like that. But I think theoretically you can do these things. If nothing else, I give these two young pretty sharp guys from Relativity Space credit for at least coming up with a very theoretical mode for getting to Mars and getting back.
GEORGE LEOPOLD: 是的,所有这些事情显然都必须弄清楚,然后才能去尝试。 但我认为从理论上讲是可以做到的。撇开其他不谈,我会给Relativity Space这两个年轻又敏锐的家伙点赞,至少他们想出了一种理论上可行的往返火星的方式。

This was a big debate during Apollo. They had to figure out the mode by which we would get there. There was big rocket direct descent, there was Earth orbit rendezvous. And the mode they decided on, which was lunar orbit rendezvous, which turned out to be the fastest, cheapest and lightest (emphasis on weight) way of getting to the surface and then getting two guys back up from the surface. So they're sort of thinking along the same lines, and they're sort of using some of the same innovative thinking that was used during Apollo to do things like welding huge sections of aluminum because you couldn't use bolts and those types of things. So you've got to give them credit for that. But as I say, it's one of the big, the greatest aspirational goals I've ever heard of. But they're throwing it out there, so let's see what happens.
在阿波罗计划期间有一次大辩论。他们必须弄清要怎么到达月球。火箭会直接下落,地球轨道有交会点。 他们决定采用的模式是月球轨道交会,结果证明这是最快捷、最经济、最轻(着重于重量)的降落月球地面,然后将两个宇航员从月球带回的方式。因此,Relativity Space的思路是一样的,他们使用的是与阿波罗(Apollo)计划相同的创新思维,例如焊接大块铝材,因为你无法使用螺栓, 或是类似的东西。 所以你不得不赞赏他们的创意。 不过正如我所说,这是我所听过的最伟大、最宏伟的理想目标之一。 他们抛出了这种观点,所以让我们看看接下来会怎么样。

BRIAN SANTO: It's a clever way to do it. It's interesting reading a lot of... Now that many people are taking the idea seriously of going to Mars, beginning to finally listen to all the hurdles that have to be taken care of. I think maybe a lot of people might have seen the movie, "The Martian" or read the book. I think the movie kind of skipped over the fact that you're subject to a lot of radiation constantly.
BRIAN SANTO: 这是一种聪明的方法。 读了很多文章,很有趣...如今,许多人都认真看待去火星的观点,终于开始听取所有需要慎重对待的障碍了。 我想也许很多人都看过电影《火星人》(The Martian)或看过原著。我认为这部电影忽略了你会持续受到大量辐射的事实。

GEORGE LEOPOLD: Yup, that's one of the big problems, is how do you survive a nine-month trip to Mars? How do you shield humans from all of that radiation? One of the more really out-there proposals was to use human waste as an insulator inside of the space craft, believe it or not. So that's... Talk about creative thinking! And, of course, "The Martian" popularized the growing of potatoes using you know what.
GEORGE LEOPOLD: 是的,这也是最大的问题之一,你要如何在9个月的火星之旅中度过难关? 你要如何保护人类免受所有辐射的侵害? 确实存在的更为现实的建议之一是,将人类排泄物用作航天器内部的绝缘材料,不管你相不相信。所以这就是...创造性思维! 而且,《火星人》还让利用人的粪便种植马铃薯流行起来。

BRIAN SANTO: Uh, compost, let's say.
BRIAN SANTO: 嗯,堆肥,可以这么说。

GEORGE LEOPOLD: Yeah, right.
GEORGE LEOPOLD: 对,是的。

BRIAN SANTO: Well, George, it's always a pleasure talking to you. Thanks for coming on again.
BRIAN SANTO: 好的George,和你聊天总是很愉快。再次感谢你的联线。

GEORGE LEOPOLD: Thanks, Brian. Good to be with you.
GEORGE LEOPOLD: 谢谢Brian。很高兴和你交谈。

BRIAN SANTO: That was George Leopold. George is the author of a fine biography of Gus Grissom, one of the original Mercury astronauts. It’s called “Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom," published by Purdue University Press.
BRIAN SANTO: 这是George Leopold,他是原Mercury项目的宇航员Gus Grissom的传记作者。该传记由普渡大学出版社出版,书名为《Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom》。

 

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