New Planet Discovered That May Support Life
給所有的手足們:兄弟姐妹節快樂!

語音播放:

In summer of 2016, the world was shocked to learn about the discovery of a new planet, Proxima b. This planet isn’t just any planet, but one that is likely to support life.
在2016的夏季,全世界的人都因新發現的行星,毗鄰星b (Proxima b)感到震撼。這顆行星不只是一顆行星,而是可能孕育生命的行星。

語音播放:

Proxima b orbits the closest star to our Sun, called Proxima Centauri. This Earth-sized planet is located 4.2 light years from us, making it the closest planet to us that is not in our own solar system.
毗鄰星b繞著離太陽系最近的恆星,毗鄰星(Proxima Centauri)而行。這顆尺寸與地球相同之行星離我們有4.2光年之遠,是太陽系外離我們最近的行星。

語音播放:

So how do we know that it could support life? No, scientists did not find little aliens running around. But what they did find is water, and water is the single most important condition for life. In fact, the surface of Proxima b may even be covered with oceans 200 kilometers deep. Another important condition for life is an atmosphere. However, scientists aren’t sure yet whether Proxima b really has an atmosphere. Some believe that the planet does have a thin atmosphere, while others believe that it can’t because of strong ‘stellar winds’. These are particles that blow from stars, and if they are strong enough, can blow away a planet’s atmosphere.
所以我們是怎麼知道它能孕育生命呢?沒有,科學家們並沒有發現到處溜達的小外星人。但他們發現水,而水是對於孕育生命最重要的唯一條件。事實上,毗鄰星b的表面甚至可能有深達200公里的海洋所覆蓋。另一個孕育生命的重要條件是大氣。然而,科學家們無法確定毗鄰星b是否真的具有大氣。有一些人相信這顆行星有一層薄弱的大氣層,但其他人因為行星上有股強大的「恆星風」而認為它並沒有大氣層。恆星風是從恆星吹出的物質流,如果恆星風夠強,會把行星的大氣層給吹走。

語音播放:

The discovery is certainly exciting for humanity, but it may take hundreds of years before we have a chance to send robots there to explore it.
這項發現對人類來說肯定是件令人興奮的消息,但在我們找到機會能派遣機器人到星球上去探索之前,可能得花上我們上百年的時間才能抵達。

Vocabulary 好字精選

1. support (v) bear, handle, sustain支撐,扶持
How much weight can this platform support?
這個平台能支撐的負重量為多少?

2. orbit (v) to go around環繞(天體等的)軌跡運行
Our planet orbits the sun once every 365 days.
我們地球每365天就繞太陽一周。

3. atmosphere (n) the air/gasses around a planet大氣
The planet Jupiter is made up entirely of atmosphere; it is essentially a giant gas ball.
木星全由氣體而組成;它的本質便是一顆巨大的氣體球。

4. particle (n) a tiny piece of matter微粒;(物)粒子,質點
One particle of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.   
一個水分子由兩個氫原子及一個氧原子所組成。

5. humanity (n) all people人性;人道;(總稱)人
If we don’t protect the earth, humanity may die out. 
如果我們不保護地球,人類有可能會滅亡。

Phrases and Sentence Patterns 句型解析

1. light year (expression) the distance that light travels in one year 光年
The furthest planet from Earth in our solar system, Neptune, is located 0.0005 light years away.
在太陽系中,離地球最遙遠的星球是海王星,位於0.0005光年之外。

2. solar system (phr) the system that includes the sun and the eight planets太陽系
Scientists now say there are only eight planets in our solar system, not nine, because Pluto is too small.  
現今的科學家們認為太陽系中只有八個行星而不是九個,因為冥王星太小了。

3. condition(s) for N (phr) a necessary state for something to happen/exist 情況;(健康等)狀態
My balcony provides the perfect conditions for growing tomatoes.
我的陽台提供一個可供番茄生長的完美環境。

Exercise 課後練習題

1. Our planet is big enough to ____________ all of us.
我們的星球已足夠大到能孕育我們所有人。

2. The moon _______________ the Earth.
月球繞著地球自轉。

3. Our planet’s ______________ is made up of nitrogen, oxygen, and other gases.
我們星球的大氣是由氮氣、氧氣和其他氣體所組成的。

4. ______________ of rock or dust light up when they reach our Earth’s atmosphere, which results in ‘shooting stars’.
隕石的顆粒或塵埃在接觸到地球的大氣時摩擦生熱,變成「流星」。

5. Sending a person to space was a big step for all of _____________.
將人送往太空中的舉動是全人類的一大進步。

6. The edge of the universe that we are aware of is at least 45 billion ______________ away.
宇宙的邊疆距離我們目前所知的地方,至少還有450億光年之遠。

7. Jupiter is the largest planet in our _______________.
木星是太陽系中最大的行星。

8. Water is a necessary ____________ all life on Earth.
水對地球上所有的生命來說是生存的必要條件。

解答:
1. support
2. orbits
3. atmosphere
4. Particles
5. humanity
6. light years
7. solar system
8. condition for

Comprehension Questions 閱讀理解

1. Which of the following is true according to the article?
a. Proxima b is the closest planet to the Earth.
b. Proxima b has water.
c. Proxima b definitely has life.
d. Proxima b is 4.2 light years away from Proxima Centauri.

2. What are scientists doing right now?
a. Sending robots to Proxima b.
b. Traveling to Proxima b.
c. Testing the water and soil from Proxima b.
d. Debating whether Proxima b has an atmosphere.

解答:
1. 根據文章內容,下列敘述何者正確?
a. 毗鄰星b (Proxima b)是最靠近地球的行星。
b. 毗鄰星b (Proxima b)上有水。
c. 毗鄰星b (Proxima b)上一定有生命存在。
d. 毗鄰星b (Proxima b)離毗鄰星 (Proxima Centauri)有4.2光年之遠。

2. 以下選項何者是科學家們現在正在進行的?
a. 派機器人前往毗鄰星b。
b. 正要太空旅行登上毗鄰星b。
c. 測試毗鄰星b上的水及土壤。
d. 討論毗鄰星b上是否有大氣層的存在。

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