经济学人:"宝瓶"时代
日期:2012-04-06 14:07

(单词翻译:单击)

Deep-sea exploration
深海探索

The age of Aquarius 1
“宝瓶”时代1

Inner space is almost as hard to explore as outer space
探太空难,察深海亦不易
Have you seen Cameron’s latest?
卡梅隆的“新作”你看了吗?

JAMES CAMERON knows how to make a splash. Literally. On March 25th the director of “The Terminator”, “Titanic” and “Avatar” plunged into the Challenger Deep2 of the Mariana Trench, 500km (300 miles) from Guam. When he reached the bottom, he sent a self-congratulatory tweet, and then tootled about for a couple of hours before taking Deepsea Challenger, his lime-green one-man submarine, back up the 11km to the surface.
詹姆斯•卡梅隆知道怎么制造轰动。确实是这样。3月25日,这位执导过“终结者”、“泰坦尼克”和“阿凡达”的导演来到了距关岛500千米(300英里)的马里亚纳海沟,一头扎进了挑战者深渊2 。当他到达海底的时候,他发了一条庆祝自己的推特,接着又唠叨了大概两个小时,才上浮11千米将他石灰青色的单人潜艇-深海挑战者号带出海面。

This venture certainly scores high in the jaw-dropping department. The only other people to plumb the Challenger Deep—as its name suggests, the most profound point in the ocean—were Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh, who did so in 1960, in a vessel called Trieste. The latest dive, however, was not very successful on the scientific front. It brought back no specimens.
这次冒险在劲爆度这方面当然是拿下高分。此外只有雅克•皮卡和唐纳德•沃尔什探索过挑战者深渊——正如其名,它是海洋的最深点——他俩于1960年驾驶里雅斯特号深海潜艇下潜至此处。然而,这新近一潜在科学层面却并不那么成功,因为它没有带回任何标本。

This was in sharp contrast to a less publicised mission, to the paltry depth of 2.5km, where the pressure is a mere 250 times that of the atmosphere (the Challenger Deep’s pressure is four times that). This was organised by Ifremer, France’s oceanographic institute. Its three-man craft, Nautile (named after the submarine in Jules Verne’s novel, “20,000 Leagues under the Sea”), not only brought back samples, but brought them back alive.
这与一项不太为人所知的行动形成了鲜明对比,后者只下潜到区区2.5千米,承受了250个大气压(挑战者深渊那里的压强四倍于此)。这次行动是由法国海洋开发研究院(Ifremer)组织实施,派出三人潜艇鹦鹉螺号(以儒勒•凡尔纳科幻小说《海底两万里》中的潜艇命名),不仅带回了标本,而且个个活蹦乱跳。

That is no mean feat. Because creatures of the deep ocean have evolved to tolerate so much pressure, their cell membranes tend to liquefy when that pressure is released. To stop this happening Nautile’s samples were transported in a special chamber called PERISCOP. This chamber, designed by Bruce Shillito and Gerard Hamel, of Pierre and Marie Curie University, in Paris, is a tank with a capacity of 2.7 litres which is capable of containing a pressure of more than 200 atmospheres.
那可真不简单。因为深海生物已经进化得能够耐受如此高压,一旦压力消失,它们的细胞膜就会溶解。为了不让这种情况发生,鹦鹉螺号上的标本被置于一个叫做“潜望镜”的特殊腔体中进行运输。这个腔体由巴黎居里大学的布鲁斯•希利托和杰拉德•哈默设计,就是一个容量2.7升的水罐,能够承受200个大气压的压强。

In 2008 PERISCOP was used to reel in a live fish from a then-record depth of 2.3km. The fish had been living near an underwater hot spring, known as a hydrothermal vent, in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This time, Nautile’s mother ship, L’Atalante, had spent three weeks trawling around a similar vent in the East Pacific Ridge as part of the MESCAL project, a collaboration between a dozen American and European oceanographic research institutions. On March 26th she sailed into Manzanillo, in Mexico, bearing a trove of specimens including a dozen or so Pompeii worms. These polychaetes (relatives of the common ragworm) are the most heat-tolerant animals known. They are able to live at 60°C. Biologists would like to understand how they do it.
2008年,“潜望镜”曾被用来从深海打回一条活鱼,2.8千米的深度在当时创了记录。那条鱼生活在中大西洋海脊的一个水下热泉附近,也就是所谓的深海热液喷口。这一次,鹦鹉螺号的母船亚特兰大号在东太平洋海脊一处相似的热泉附近网了三个星期鱼,这也是欧美十几个海洋研究所合作项目“龙舌兰”的一部分。3月26日,亚特兰大号满载着捕鱼所获——包括大约十几只庞贝虫在内的众多标本,驶入了墨西哥的曼萨尼略港。这些多毛类环虫(和普通的沙虫是近亲)是已知最耐热的动物。它们能在60摄氏度的环境中生存。生物学家想要了解它们如何做到这点的。

To help them find out L’Atalante has been fitted with a second chamber, BALIST, into which PERISCOP’s catch can be transferred. Researchers on board ship were thus able to study the worms alive for several weeks. For the unfortunate worms, however, Manzanillo was the end of the line. They were killed, frozen and transported back to France.
为了帮助生物学家找出所以然,亚特兰大号安装了一个附加的腔体“十字弓”,“潜望镜”捕获的生物可以转移进去。这样,载驳船上的研究人员就能够在数周时间中研究活体虫子。但是,对于这些不幸的虫儿来说,曼萨尼略就是它们生命的终点。它们被杀死,冷冻后运回到法国。

Future trophies may be luckier. Ifremer’s researchers are searching for a way to keep deep-sea animals alive indefinitely, so that their entire life cycles can be studied. This means building high-pressure, onshore fish tanks. On April 7th the Océanopolis, a big aquarium in Brest, will unveil two such chambers. Each Abyss Box3 , as the contraptions are known, costs

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重点单词
  • capableadj. 有能力的,足以胜任的,有 ... 倾向的
  • ventn. 排气口,表达,发泄,火山口 v. 发泄,表达,排放
  • plumbn. 铅锤,垂直 v. (用铅垂)测量,探测 adv.
  • explorev. 探险,探测,探究
  • instituten. 学会,学院,协会 vt. 创立,开始,制定
  • pressuren. 压力,压强,压迫 v. 施压
  • unfortunateadj. 不幸的,令人遗憾的,不成功的 n. 不幸的人
  • liquefyv. 液化,溶解
  • pacificn. 太平洋 adj. 太平洋的 pacific adj
  • craftn. 工艺,手艺,狡诈,航空器,行会成员 vt. 手工制