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  • Water is vital to life on Earth and probably to life elsewhere.


  • This has led astronomers to become interested in oceans.


  • And to the discovery that oceans can be very different to those beneath the open skies of Earth.


  • On three of the moons of Jupiter,


  • and two of the moons of Saturn,


  • there was good evidence of liquid oceans.


  • The first of these oceans to be discovered was within Jupiter's moon Europa.

    這些海洋中第一個被發現的是木星的衛星 Europa 上。

  • Though Europa is small, it may boast more liquid water than the Earth.

    儘管 Europa 是顆小星體,它也許擁有比地球還更多的液態水。

  • The ocean could be over 100 kilometers deep.

    海洋可能在超過 100 公里深處。

  • Heat generated by Jupiter's powerful tides keeps it warm underneath the icy shell.


  • Europe's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission, or JUICE, will launch in 2022 to study Jupiter and three of its largest moons.

    歐洲木星衛星冰層探索任務 (JUICE),將會在 2022 年展開研究木星及其最大的三個衛星。

  • Perhaps one of the most promising oceans for study is on Enceladus, a tiny moon of Saturn.

    也許其中一個最有希望找到海洋的研究目標是 Enceladus,土星的一個微小的衛星。

  • This is because the ocean does not stay under the ice cap.


  • Geysers at the moon's south pole shoot ocean water hundreds of kilometers out into space.

    在這個衛星的南極點的 Geysers 將海洋噴到外太空好幾百公里之處。

  • Studies by NASA's Cassini probe showed that

    NASA 的 Cassini 探測器研究顯示,

  • the water in these jets contain organic molecules,


  • the building blocks of life.


  • There is also evidence of hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean.


  • This is significant because it is thought that life first arose at hydrothermal vents on Earth.


  • A spacecraft flying through the jets of Enceladus

    一艘太空船從 Enceladus 的噴流中飛過,

  • could sample the water for traces of complex


  • biological molecules such as DNA or protein.

    例如蛋白質或者 DNA。

  • There is no guarantee of life in the waters of Enceladus.

    但不保證能夠在 Enceladus 的水體中

  • Or in any of the solar system's other hidden oceans.


  • But the possibility that something might be there will drive ambitious explorations for decades to come.


  • Coming up, how to discover new planets.


Water is vital to life on Earth and probably to life elsewhere.



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B1 中級 中文 英國腔 海洋 衛星 木星 生命 冰層 土星

獵取太空中的海洋|《經濟學人》雜誌 (The hunt for oceans in space | The Economist)

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    Jerry Liu 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日