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  • It's hard to get to space

    要進入外太空是件很難的事

  • As much as we all wish there were an easy,

    儘管我們都希望有一個更簡單、便宜的方法

  • and affordable way to see our planet floating in the dark

    能看見我們生活的星球漂浮在黑色的空間中

  • Right now, the only way is to become an astronaut or a billionaire

    目前為止,想做到這件事就只有成為太空人

  • But there is a concept that might make it possible

    或是百萬富翁才行

  • -while serving as the starting point for the exploration of the universe-

    但是有個概念,或許能夠成為探索宇宙的起點

  • The space elevator

    那就是太空電梯

  • How exactly does it work?

    這究竟這是如何辦到的呢?

  • To understand how a space elevator will get us into space

    要了解太空電梯如何帶我們進入外太空

  • We must first understand what an orbit is

    我們必須先了解何謂運行軌道

  • Being in orbit basically means falling towards something,

    當運行在軌道上時,代表物體正在朝向某樣東西墜落

  • but moving fast enough to miss

    但是墜落速度又快得足夠避開那樣東西

  • If you throw a ball on earth it makes an arch through the air,

    如果你在地球上朝空中丟一顆球

  • and then hits the ground

    那顆球將會在空中劃出一道弧線,然後墜落到地上

  • In space, gravity makes you move much the same way,

    在太空中,重力以相同的方式運作

  • but if you move sideways fast enough

    但如果你的橫向速度夠快的話

  • the curvature of the earth makes the ground fall away beneath you

    運行於地球軌道的曲率會使得你遠離地面速度

  • as fast as gravity pulls you towards it

    與被重力拉向地球的速度相等

  • So, to enter Earth's orbit rockets have to go up

    所以,如果想要進入地球的軌道

  • and sideways fast

    火箭得要向上,並同時快速地橫向飛行

  • By contrast, a space elevator taps into energy from Earth's rotation

    相對地,太空電梯則利用地球自轉的能量

  • to get the cargo going fast

    使得送上太空的貨物達到能夠運行於軌道的速度

  • Imagine a child spinning a toy on a rope with an ant on the child's hand

    試著想像一個孩子用一條繩子甩動玩具,而手握住繩子那端上有一隻螞蟻

  • As the ant climbs out along the rope

    當螞蟻沿著繩子向上爬時

  • it starts to move faster and faster as it ascends

    在抵達頂端的過程中,速度將會越來越快

  • Compared to rockets, with cargo launched on an elevator

    相較於發射火箭將貨物運送至外太空

  • you only need to provide the energy to go up

    使用太空電梯,僅需要提供向上的能量即可

  • Fast sideways movement comes free with the Earth's rotation

    運行於軌道的橫向速度則由地球自轉本身產生的能量免費提供

  • But the space elevator would without a doubt

    但是建造一個太空電梯

  • be the single largest and most expensive structure ever built by humans

    毫無疑問將會是人類史上建造過最大而且最貴的單一建築

  • So, is it worth it?

    所以,這一切真的值得嗎?

  • It all comes down to costs

    一切都跟價格有關

  • Rockets burn a huge amount of rocket fuel

    火箭就得要燃燒非常大量的燃料

  • just to get a small amount of cargo into space

    才能將少量的貨物運送上太空

  • At current prices, it costs about $20,000 to put one kilogram of payload into space

    就目前的價格來說,將一公克的貨物送上太空將要花上大約兩萬美元

  • that's $1.3 million dollars for the average human

    也就是平均送一個人上太空需要花一百三十萬美元

  • $40 million dollars for your car

    四千萬美元讓你的車上太空

  • billions for an international space station

    以及數十億美元讓國際太空站得以到達外太空 (International Space Station)

  • This immense cost is one of the major limitations of human spaceflight

    這樣巨大的花費是目前限制人類飛向太空的一個重大瓶頸

  • Even with advancing technology,

    就算科技不斷進步

  • this cost isn't likely to be comparable with the price of an airline ticket anytime soon

    上太空得花費在短期內還是無法跟現在的航空機票價格比擬

  • A space elevator would solve this problem

    然而太空電梯可以解決這個問題

  • After construction,

    經過建造之後

  • a space elevator is projected to reduce the cost one hundredfold to $200 per kilogram

    太空電梯將使運送成本降低至原本的百分之一,使每公克運送成本只有兩百美金

  • If an inexpensive space elevator costs 20 billion dollars,

    假設一個低成本的太空電梯造價為200億美金

  • then we'll recoup our losses after launching only one million tons

    這樣只需運送一百萬噸就可以回收成本

  • Close to the weight of two international space stations

    接近兩個國際太空站的重量

  • So what would a space elevator look like in real life?

    所以太空電梯在現實世界中會長得什麼樣?

  • A space elevator has four major components:

    太空電梯將有四個主要構造

  • the tether, anchor, counterweight and climber

    纜線、基座、平衡物、與升降艙

  • The elevator part of the space elevator is the tether and the climber

    而太空電梯中的“電梯”部分則主要是由纜線與升降艙組成

  • It extends from the surface of the Earth to space

    一路從地表延伸到太空

  • The climber is like a conventional elevator carriage

    升降艙的運作方式就像傳統的電梯一樣

  • A chamber that works its way up and down the tether

    是一個可以上升與下降的載體

  • At the base would be an anchor

    在地表的部分則是基座

  • pinning the tether to the Earth along with a port for climbers

    將纜線固定在地上並提供進出電梯艙的出入口

  • At the top is the counterweight which holds up the tether

    在最上方的平衡物將纜線固定住

  • The tether is held tight like a rope

    纜線就像一條繩索一樣連結在平衡物上

  • and supported from above by the tension from the counterweight

    由平衡物所產生得張力來支撐

  • Located higher than 36,000 kilometers above the Earth's surface

    平衡物位於距離海平面三萬六千公里的高度

  • At the counterweight could be a space station,

    這個平衡物可以是一個太空站

  • a launching point for all missions from the spaceport elevator

    並作為與這座太空電梯相關太空任務的發射基地

  • But can we actually build one?

    但我們真的造得出太空電梯嗎?

  • It's hard to say

    我們目前還不太確定

  • The biggest challenge is the tether

    目前最大的挑戰是建造纜線

  • It needs to be light, affordable

    纜線的材質必須要輕巧、造價合理

  • and more stable than any material we can produce right now

    並比我們目前所有可製造材質還要堅韌

  • There are promising materials like graphene and diamond nanothreads,

    目前有前景的材質包括石墨烯與奈米鑽石線

  • but even they may not be strong enough

    但這兩者的強度也也有可能不夠

  • And aside from being incredibly strong,

    纜線的材質不但要強韌,

  • the tether would also have to withstand atmospheric corrosion, radiation

    還必須要可以承受大氣腐蝕、輻射線

  • and micrometeorite and debris impacts

    與微小隕石和殘骸的撞擊

  • Additionally, it takes several days to climb the elevator

    除此之外,升降艙要到達頂端需要數天

  • How do we power the climber?

    我們要如何提供升降艙所需的能量?

  • It requires a lot of energy to go up

    要到達頂端需要很多能量

  • Do we need a nuclear reactor on our elevator carriage?

    我們需要一個核反應爐在升降艙上嗎?

  • Or do we beam it power from the ground with a super powered laser?

    還是我們使用強大的雷射將能量從地表輸送上去

  • And where do we get the raw materials for a 36,000-kilometer-long tether?

    並且我們要從哪裡取得建造一條三萬六千公里纜繩的原物料?

  • Do we make it on Earth and launch it into space?

    我們要從地表建造再將他延伸到太空

  • Or do we make it in space and lower it down to the Earth?

    還是我們在太空建造再把纜線垂吊下來

  • Could asteroid mining be the answer?

    小行星採礦會是解決方案嗎?

  • Put simply, there are still some major technological hurdles to overcome

    總而言之,我們還有很多重大技術瓶頸需要突破

  • And a space elevator is not without risk

    並且一座太空電梯並不是沒有災難風險

  • Should the tether break, it would collapse in spectacular style

    如果纜線斷裂整座太空電梯將以壯觀的的方式坍塌

  • If it breaks near the anchor

    假設纜線在接近地表處斷裂

  • the force exerted by the counterweight will cause the entire elevator to rise up

    由上方平衡物所造成的張力將會把整座太空電梯向上

  • ascending into space

    拉到太空

  • Should it break near the counterweight

    假設在接近平衡物的地方斷裂,

  • the tether will fall,

    整條纜線將會坍塌

  • wrapping around the world and whipping the end off

    並甩向地表

  • The resulting debris in orbit could pose serious problems to future spaceflight

    所產生的軌道碎片將會影響到未來太空飛行的安全

  • If we build a space elevator on Earth, we have to do it right the first time

    如果我們要建造一個太空電梯,我們必須在第一次就要正確的建造

  • For these reasons some experts have proposed first building

    基於這些安全原因

  • a space elevator on the Moon

    有些專家建議先在月球上建造太空電梯

  • The Moon's gravity is much weaker than the Earth's

    月球的重力遠低於地球

  • so a flimsier but existing material like kevlar

    所以一些比較脆弱但已存在的材質,例如像克維拉(防彈纖維)

  • could serve as a tether

    可以被用來建造纜線

  • Even with all these challenges,

    即使有這些困難的挑戰

  • the payoff of having a working space elevator would be immense

    一座可運作的太空電梯將會帶來巨大的報酬

  • It might be the first step to truly becoming a space-faring civilization

    這也許是我們要成為一個真正星際文明所要邁出的第一步

  • Maybe we will never build a space elevator,

    也許我們永遠建造不出太空電梯

  • but in trying to do so we might learn an awful lot

    但在試圖建造的過程中會讓我們學到需多新的知識

  • And when it comes to the exploration of the universe,

    並且在太空探索方向上

  • there can't be too many dreams of a glorious future

    邁向宏偉未來的夢想永遠不嫌多

  • Subtitles by the Amara.org community

    英文字幕由 Amara.org 提供

It's hard to get to space

要進入外太空是件很難的事

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B2 中高級 中文 英國腔 太空 電梯 建造 軌道 地表 材質

太空電梯--科幻小說還是人類的未來? (Space Elevator – Science Fiction or the Future of Mankind?)

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    mommy 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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