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NASA Completes First Asteroid Landing

An unmanned American spacecraft has made the first ever landing on an asteroid. The NEAR-Shoemaker probe touched down after studying the asteroid Eros for the past year. There was 5)jubilation at the NASA space agency at their success in landing on such a relatively small target so far away.

    A computer image of the spacecraft as it made its carefully controlled four-hour descent onto the asteroid. After a year orbiting it and with a less than one percent chance of success, the spacecraft landed right on schedule. Scientists had predicted it might be destroyed by the impact or perhaps even bounce back into space. But against all the odds the spacecraft actually survived. The head of mission control could barely contain his delight at the outcome.

Robert Farquhar, mission director: I’m  happy to report that the NEAR spacecraft has touched down on the surface of Eros. This is the first time that any spacecraft has landed on a small body.

   Scientists studying the images from the spacecraft’s camera were astonished at the sheer number and variety of boulders strewn across the asteroid’s surface. The successful mission provides a much needed boost for the American space agency NASA, as it tries to recover some pride after a series of failed missions to the planet Mars in the last few years.

    Jane Wall, BBC News

重点注释:

asteroid: n. 小行星

NEAR: Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous,近地小行星约会。"近地小行星约会"(NEAR)是美国航空航天署与约翰·霍普金斯大学应用物理实验室等研究机构共同开发建造的。该探测器重达一千一百磅,造价为一亿多美元。它的任务是进入围绕“爱神”行星的飞行轨道,对其进行为期一年的的研究,对小行星进行测量并向地面发回照片。

probe: n. 探针,探测器              

Eros: n. 厄罗斯(古希腊爱神,相当于罗马神话的丘比特)

jubilation: n. 庆祝                   

descent: n. 降下,降落

orbit: vt. 进入轨道,沿轨道飞行   

bounce: vi. 反跳,弹起

outcome: n. 结果,成果          

sheer: a. 彻底的,纯粹的

boulder:  n. 大石头


参考译文:

    一艘美国无人驾驶探测器在一个小行星上首次着陆。“近地小行星约会”外太空探测器在对厄罗斯小行星研究了一年后才进行着陆。美国航空航天署对在如此遥远又相对如此小的行星上着陆成功感到欢欣雀跃。

    根据电脑图象显示,探测器在环绕小行星一年后历经4小时小心操作才安然着陆,虽然着陆成功的概率不到1%,探测器仍按时完成了着陆。科学家们曾预想探测器可能会被冲击力摧毁或是将被反弹回太空。但是和这种种可能相反,探测器安然着陆了。指挥着陆的负责人毫不掩饰自己的欣喜之情。

罗伯特·法夸尔(飞行控制主任) :我非常高兴地宣布“近地小行星约会”探测器已降落在厄罗斯行星的表面。这是航天器第一次降落在如此小的星体上。

    在对探测器上照相机发回的照片进行研究后,科学家们对小行星表面巨石数量之多及不同的形状感到非常吃惊。在过去几年内,美国探测器对火星的探测有过数次失败,此次在小行星上成功着陆为美国航空航天署确实争回了不少面子。

    英国广播公司记者简·沃尔

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