New Planet Discovered That May Support Life


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,比鄰星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。


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.
比鄰星b繞著離太陽系最近的恆星,比鄰星(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。


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.


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.

Vocabulary 好字精選

1. support (v) bear, handle, sustain支撐,扶持
How much weight can this platform support?

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.

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.

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.   

5. humanity (n) all people人性;人道;(總稱)人
If we don’t protect the earth, humanity may die out. 

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.

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.  

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.

Exercise 課後練習題

1. Our planet is big enough to ____________ all of us.

2. The moon _______________ the Earth.

3. Our planet’s ______________ is made up of nitrogen, oxygen, and other gases.

4. ______________ of rock or dust light up when they reach our Earth’s atmosphere, which results in ‘shooting stars’.

5. Sending a person to space was a big step for all of _____________.

6. The edge of the universe that we are aware of is at least 45 billion ______________ away.

7. Jupiter is the largest planet in our _______________.

8. Water is a necessary ____________ all life on Earth.

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.

1. 根據文章內容,下列敘述何者正確?
a. 比鄰星b (Proxima b)是最靠近地球的行星。
b. 比鄰星b (Proxima b)上有水。
c. 比鄰星b (Proxima b)上一定有生命存在。
d. 比鄰星b (Proxima b)離比鄰星 (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. 派機器人前往比鄰星b。
b. 正要太空旅行登上比鄰星b。
c. 測試比鄰星b上的水及土壤。
d. 討論比鄰星b上是否有大氣層的存在。


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