Mars Rover Begins Dropping Rock Samples for Future Return to Earth
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Mars Rover Begins Dropping Rock Samples for Future Return to Earth
The American space agency NASA's Mars explorer has begun dropping rock samples it collected on the planet's surface. A different spacecraft is to recover the samples at a future date and return them to Earth. 美国航天局 NASA 的火星探测器已开始将其收集到的岩石样本投放到火星表面。另一艘航天器将在未来某个日期回收样本并将它们送回地球。
The Perseverance explorer, or rover, landed on Mars in February 2021. It has been collecting rock, soil and atmospheric samples at Mars' Jezero Crater area since September 2021. 毅力号探索者号或漫游者号于 2021 年 2 月登陆火星。自 2021 年 9 月以来,它一直在火星的 Jezero 陨石坑地区收集岩石、土壤和大气样本。
NASA officials have said detailed study of the samples on Earth will be important to help scientists understand whether life ever existed on Mars. NASA 官员表示,对地球样本的详细研究对于帮助科学家了解火星上是否曾经存在生命非常重要。
NASA said Perseverance has collected 18 different samples. The space agency plans to pick up the collected materials during a Mars mission planned for 2028. NASA 表示,毅力号已经收集了 18 个不同的样本。航天局计划在计划于 2028 年进行的火星任务中收集收集到的材料。
The joint mission with the European Space Agency would involve a lander spacecraft being sent to Mars along with a small rocket. The samples would be loaded onto the rocket to be transported to Earth. If the mission goes well, the samples could arrive on Earth in 2033. 与欧洲航天局的联合任务将涉及将着陆器航天器与一枚小型火箭一起送往火星。样本将被装载到火箭上,运往地球。如果任务顺利,样本可能会在 2033 年到达地球。
The samples are kept inside a storage area inside the rover. They are kept inside air-tight titanium tubes to be protected from the severe conditions on Mars. Most of them will be kept inside a container on Perseverance until the return mission happens. But NASA decided to drop 10 of them on the planet's surface in case something goes wrong with the ones kept inside the rover. 样品保存在流动站内的存储区域内。它们被保存在气密的钛管内,以免受火星上恶劣条件的影响。在返回任务发生之前,他们中的大多数将被保存在坚持不懈的容器内。但美国宇航局决定将其中的 10 个投放到地球表面,以防火星车内部的探测器出现问题。
NASA said the tubes dropped on the surface could be picked up by a helicopter-like vehicle and transported to the rocket to be brought to Earth. The space agency has already demonstrated that its Ingenuity helicopter can operate successfully on Mars. 美国国家航空航天局表示,落在地面上的管子可以由类似直升机的运载工具捡起,并运送到火箭上,然后运回地球。该航天局已经证明其Ingenuity 直升机可以在火星上成功运行。
Perseverance collected the samples with robotic equipment attached to the rover. The collection operations are led by NASA mission controllers on Earth. Perseverance has a drill attached to a robotic arm it uses to collect small, circular rock samples from beneath the surface. 毅力号使用附在流动站上的机器人设备收集样本。收集操作由地球上的 NASA 任务控制员领导。毅力号有一个连接到机械臂上的钻头,它用来从地表下收集小的圆形岩石样本。
NASA said in a statement the first sample container was dropped on the Mars surface by Perseverance on December 21. The agency plans to drop the remaining nine containers over the next two months. 美国国家航空航天局在一份声明中表示,第一个样本容器于 12 月 21 日由毅力号降落在火星表面。该机构计划在接下来的两个月内投放其余九个容器。
Perseverance will be releasing the samples in an area of Jezero Crater known as "Three Forks." Scientists believe Jezero Crater contains the remains of an ancient river system. NASA considers the area a good place to find possible signs of microscopic life. Scientists believe if life ever existed on Mars, it would have been present 3 to 4 billion years ago, when water flowed on the planet. 毅力号将在 Jezero Crater 被称为“三叉”的区域释放样本。科学家们认为 Jezero Crater 包含一个古老河流系统的遗迹。美国宇航局认为该地区是寻找微观生命迹象的好地方。科学家们认为,如果火星上曾经存在过生命,那么它应该在 3 到 40 亿年前就已经存在,当时地球上有水流动。
Meenakshi Wadhwa is a scientist from Arizona State University who helps lead the scientific team of the Mars Sample Return program. She said the samples collected so far represent a good mix of different kinds of rock and soil found in the area being explored by Perseverance. The rover still has more than 20 empty containers that can be used in the collection mission. Meenakshi Wadhwa 是亚利桑那州立大学的科学家,他帮助领导火星样本返回计划的科学团队。她说,到目前为止收集的样本代表了毅力号正在探索的地区发现的不同种类的岩石和土壤的良好组合。火星车还有 20 多个空容器可用于收集任务。
NASA officials said the operation to drop samples on the surface of Mars has been complex. This is because the chosen sites must be reachable by both flying and driving vehicles. NASA 官员表示,将样本滴落到火星表面的操作非常复杂。这是因为飞行和驾驶车辆都必须可以到达所选地点。
Richard Cook is the Mars Sample Return program manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. 理查德·库克 (Richard Cook) 是南加州美国宇航局喷气推进实验室的火星样本返回项目经理。
He said once the 10 drop areas were identified, the team then had to map out exactly how the rover could effectively get to those places to deploy the samples. "You can't simply drop them in a big pile because the recovery helicopters are designed to interact with only one tube at a time." 他说,一旦确定了 10 个放置区域,团队就必须准确地绘制出漫游者如何有效地到达这些地方以部署样本。“你不能简单地把它们堆成一大堆,因为回收直升机被设计成一次只与一个管子相互作用。”
The team decided to create an "area of operation" stretching about 5.5 meters for each dropping point. The tubes are to be dropped about five to 15 meters apart from one another. 该团队决定为每个滴点创建一个约 5.5 米的“操作区域”。这些管子彼此相距约 5 到 15 米。
NASA said mission controllers will be examining numerous images captured by the rover to assist them in deciding where to drop the samples. The images will also help the team identify exactly where the samples are in case they are covered in sand or dust before they are collected. 美国宇航局表示,任务控制员将检查火星车拍摄的大量图像,以帮助他们决定将样本投放到哪里。这些图像还将帮助团队准确识别样本的位置,以防样本在收集前被沙子或灰尘覆盖。