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经济学人:太空之旅 送我入太空

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THE space race between America and the Soviet Union was as much about ideological one-upmanship as extraterrestrial exploration. A new space race to the moon has an even less lofty goal: sightseeing. Two space-tourism companies are planning rival lunar missions that could see private individuals paying to fly to Earth's nearest celestial neighbour.

美国和苏联的空间竞争是关于外星探索上谁高人一等的问题。一个新的到月球的竞争有一个更加崇高的目标:旅游观光。两个空间旅游公司计划在月球项目上竞争以使私人个体可以掏钱飞上地球最近的天体邻居。
On June 19th Excalibur Almaz, a space company based on the Isle of Man, a British dependency in the Irish Sea, became the second company-after Space Adventures, an American space-tourism firm-to offer tickets for a commercial moonshot. Both firms are charging $150m a seat, a price that includes months of ground-based training. Neither is offering a descent to the moon's surface-just a lunar fly-by.
一个英国支持的位于英国曼岛的神剑在六月19号成为第为继美国空间旅游公司空间探险公司之后第二家空间旅行公司为登月的商业用途提供票。两个公司都要1500万一个座位,包括数月的地上训练。两个公司都不提供降落地面的服务————仅仅是绕月飞行。
Whereas the Americans won the first space race, the Russians are favourites for the rematch. Both Excalibur Almaz and Space Adventures are using Russian-made rockets and spacecraft. Space Adventures plans to re-engineer the veteran Soyuz craft that it has used to shuttle seven space tourists up to the International Space Station (ISS). Excalibur Almaz intends to refit two Almaz space stations that were originally made for the Soviet armed forces.
鉴于美国赢得了第一次空间竞赛,俄罗斯人热衷于重新开赛。神剑和太空探险两家公司都使用俄罗斯生产的火箭和飞船。空间探险公司计划重新设计自身的联盟号宇宙飞船,该飞船曾经把7位旅客送进国际航空站。神剑公司倾向于使用重新整修的2号钻石空间站,该站由以前的苏联军队建造。
The space-tourism business is famously long on hype but rather short, so far, on results. And both firms face big engineering challenges, to put it mildly. The easier task probably falls to Space Adventures, whose well-tested Soyuzcapsules-which have been flying, in one form or another, since the 1960s-require a beefier communications system, larger portholes (everyone wants a window seat, after all) and a better heat shield for re-entry. A separate booster rocket will be necessary to break the craft out of Earth orbit.
到目前为止,空间旅游已经大力宣传了很长时间,但是实际上刚刚开始。两个公司都面临着巨大的工程挑战,使他们抓狂。比较简单的任务可能降落在空间探险公司身上,其调试良好的联盟号飞船自从20世纪60年代以来已经以一种形式或另一种形式飞过——仅仅需要加装强大的制动装置,大的舷窗(毕竟每个人都想坐在离窗户近的地方)另外为重新进入加装好的隔热层。助推火箭分离器需要有强大的推力使航天器脱离地球轨道。
Excalibur Almaz's bulky space stations will need a lot more work to convert into lunar spacecraft. The first step will be to attach engines. The company plans to use ion thrusters, a high-tech propulsion system in which propellant is ejected using an electric field. Such motors are extremely efficient, and can be powered from a station's solar panels. But they generate little thrust, meaning that Excalibur Almaz's mission will take at least six months, compared with just six days for Space Adventures' chemical-powered craft. In fact, the low-energy trajectory planned by Excalibur Almaz will take its crew members farther from the Earth than any other humans have been.
神剑的庞大空间站需要更多的工作使其成为旅月航天器。第一步将需要安装引擎。公司计划使用例子推动器,这是一种高科技的推动系统其推动剂是一种电场。这种发动机效率非常高,并且可以从空间站太阳能电极板得到能量。但是他们进展缓慢,意思是神剑的使命可能至少推迟6个月,相比于空间探索公司仅仅需要6天就能加注的化学推动剂飞船。事实上,神剑计划的低能量轨道将能把它的工作人员送到离地球比以前所有人都远的地方。
A journey that long would be risky. One danger is from unpredictable and potentially deadly solar flares, giant releases of stellar energy that would bombard the craft with radiation and fry its occupants. To protect its passengers, the company plans to build an internal "storm shelter" that uses the spacecraft's water supplies to absorb radiation.
长距离的旅行将很危险。危险之一来自不可预定和可能的致命的太阳耀斑,恒星能量的巨大释放将用射线炸毁飞船并且烧焦乘客。为了保护乘客,该公司计划建立内部"风暴掩体"用飞船的供水系统来吸收射线。
Neither firm will start refitting its spacecraft, a process expected to take around three years, until it has sold all the seats on its maiden flights (two for Space Adventures, three for Excalibur Almaz). The companies are marketing their lunar missions to the same high-tech entrepreneurs and ultra-rich thrill-seekers who have snapped up tourist visits to the ISS and suborbital joyrides-long planned, but yet to fly-with firms such as Virgin Galactic.
这一计划预计需要三年的时间,两个公司都将不重新修理飞船知道其卖掉所有的处女飞行的座位(两个太空研究者,三个旅行者),两公司想类似的高科技公司和富有刺激性的富人们宣传市场,这些人把计划很长时间但是没有实施的去国际空间站和轨道兜风的旅游票一抢而空比如Virgin Galactic公司。
Space Adventures already claims to have sold one ticket. That has led Excalibur Almaz to sweeten its deal by offering equity in the company to its first paying passengers. But filling seats may prove tricky. Not only is the asking price more than seven times the $20m cost of a jaunt to the ISS, it also requires months of demanding physical and psychological training. And even if the engineering can be perfected, it remains to be seen how many daredevil billionaires will be willing to spend months cooped up in a metal tube eating freeze-dried food.
空间探索公司已经声明卖出一张票。这促使神剑公司推出为首位付款游客提供装备的优惠政策。但是填充座位可能很棘手。这不仅仅需要超过到达空间站所需200万美元七倍的价格,还需要花费数月来进行体力和心理的锻炼。并且即使发动机非常好,还需要看有多少不怕死的亿万富翁将希望花费数月被关闭在金属的容器内吃着冰冷干燥的食物。

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separate ['sepəreit]

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n. 分开,抽印本
adj. 分开的,各自的,

 
psychological [.saikə'lɔdʒikəl]

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adj. 心理(学)的

 
craft [krɑ:ft]

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n. 工艺,手艺,狡诈,航空器,行会成员
vt

 
absorb [əb'sɔ:b]

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vt. 吸纳,吸引 ... 的注意,吞并

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internal [in'tə:nəl]

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adj. 国内的,内在的,身体内部的

 
shelter ['ʃeltə]

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n. 庇护所,避难所,庇护
v. 庇护,保护,

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daredevil ['dɛə.devl]

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adj. 胆大的,冒失的 n. 铤而走险的人,不怕死的人

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protect [prə'tekt]

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vt. 保护,投保

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exploration [.eksplɔ:'reiʃən]

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n. 探险,踏勘,探测

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equity ['ekwəti]

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n. 权益,产权,(无固定利息的)股票,衡平法

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