新概念英语第三册55:From the earth: Greetings
 

一、听力mp3

(请同学们先听一边课文听力,再逐次查看课文与翻译内容。)
 

 
1.课文
Recent developments in astronomy have made it possible to detect planets in our won Milky Way and in other galaxies. This is a major achievement because, in relative terms, planets are very small and old not emit light. Finding planets is proving hard enough, but finding life on them will prove infinitely more difficult. The first question to answer is whether a planet can actually support life. In our won solar system, for example, Venus is far too hot and Mars is far too cold to support life. Only the Earth provides ideal conditions, and even here it has taken more than four billion years for plant and animal life to evolve.
Whether a planet can support life depends on the size and brightness of its star, that is its 'sun'. Imagine a star up t twenty times larger, brighter, brighter and hotter than our own sun. A planet would have to be a very long way from it to be capable of supporting life. Alternatively, if the star were small, the life-supporting planet would have to have a close orbit round it and also provide the perfect conditions for life forms to develop. But how would we find such a planet? At present, there is no telescope in existence that is capable of detecting the presence of life. The development of such a telescope will be one of the great astronomical projects of the twenty-first century.
It is impossible to look for life on another planet using earth-based telescopes. Our own warm atmosphere and the heat generated by the telescope would make it impossible to detect objects as small as planets. Even a telescope in orbit round the earth, like the very successful Hubble telescope, would not be suitable because of the dust particles iron solar system. A telescope would have to be as far away as the planet Jupiter to look for life in outer space, because the dust becomes thinner the further we travel towards the outer edges of our own solar system. Once we detected a planet, we would have to find a way of blotting out the light from its star, so that we would be able to 'see' the planet properly and analyze its atmosphere. In the first instance, we would be looking for plant life, rather than 'little green men'. The life forms most likely to develop on a planet would be bacteria. It is bacteria that have generated the oxygen we breathe on earth. For most of the earth's history they have been the only form of life on our planet. As Earth-dwellers, we always cherish the hope that we will be visited by little green men and that we will be able to communicate with them. But this hope is always in the realms of science fiction. If we were able to discover lowly forms of life like bacteria on another planet, it would completely change our view of ourselves. As Daniel Goldin of NASA observed, 'Finding life elsewhere would change everything. No human endeavor or thought would be unchanged by it."
 
2.翻译
天文学方面最新发展使得我们能够在银河系和其他星系发现行星。这是一个重要的成就,因为相对来说,行星很小,而且也不发光。寻找行星证明相当困难,但是要在行星上发现生命会变得无比艰难。第一个需要解答的问题是一颗行星是否有能够维持生命的条件。举例来说,在我们的太阳系里,对于生命来说,金星的温度太高,而火星的温度则太低。只有地球提供理想的条件,而即使在这里,植物和动物的进化也用了40亿年的时间。
一颗行星是否能够维持生命取决于它的恒星——即它的“太阳”——的大小和亮度。设想一下,一颗恒星比我们的太阳还要大,还要亮,还要热20倍,那么一颗行星为了维持生命就要离开的它的恒星非常远。反之,如果恒星很小,维持生命的行星就要在离恒星很近的轨道上运行,而且要有极好的条件才能使生命得以发展,但是,我们如何才能找到这样一颗行星呢?现在,没有一台现存的望远镜可以发现生命的存在。而开发这样一台望远镜将会是21世纪天文学的一个重要的研究课题。
使用放置在地球上的望远镜是无法观察到其他行星的生命的。地球周围温暖的大气层和望远镜散出的热量使得我们根本不可能找到比行星更小的物体。即使是一台放置在围绕地球的轨道上的望远镜——如非常成功的哈勃望远镜——也因为太阳系中的尘埃微粒而无法胜任。望远镜要放置在木星那样遥远的行星上才有可能在外层空间搜寻生命。因为我们越是接近太阳系的边缘,尘埃就越稀薄。一旦我们找到这样一颗行星,我们就要想办法将它的恒星射过来的光线遮暗,这样我们就能彻底“看见”这颗行星,并分析它的大气层。首先我们要寻找植物,而不是那种“小绿人”。行星上最容易生存下来的是细菌。正是细菌生产出我们在地球上呼吸的氧气。在地球上发展的大部分进程中,细菌是地球上唯一的生命形式。作为地球上的居民,我们总存有这样的希望:小绿人来拜访我们,而我们可以和他们交流。但是,这种希望总是只在科幻小说中存在。如果我们能够在另一颗行星上找到诸如细菌的那种低等生命,那么这个发现将彻底改变我们对我们自己的看法。正如美国国家航空和宇宙航空局的丹尼尔.戈尔丁指出的“在其他地方发现生命会改变一切。任何人类的努力和想法都会发生变化。”

二、学习视频


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三、课文精讲

(课文精讲根据顺序分析课文重点)
 
(Attention: The following points are not covered by the video. It is better for you to watch the video or listen to the MP3 first and try to take notes on your own. Then you may check here to get more details. )
 
1. This is a major achievement because, in relative terms, planets are very small and old not emit light.
in relative terms: relatively;relative: comparing to other things, 相对的。如:
Since I got a job, I have been living in relative comfort.
In relative terms, Britain was weak in the 20th century. (It was stronger before, but weaker in the 20th century.)
Relatively few people are prepared to sacrifice up to a third of their holidays for the pleasure of traveling on a ship. (NCE3 Lesson44)
 
2. Finding planets is proving hard enough, but finding life on them will prove infinitely more difficult.
infinitely more difficult: a lot more difficult。我们再来看infinitely的一些用法:
infinitely great: extremely great infinitely better: much better
Wives tend to believe that their husbands are infinitely resourceful and versatile. 妻子倾向于认为丈夫足智多谋、多才多艺。(NCE3 Lesson46)
 
3. The first question to answer is whether a planet can actually support life.
support:to provide the necessary conditions so that life can exist(本文中)。More examples:
His brother supported him while he was at college. (support: to provide a living for sb, 养活某人)
The land is so poor that it cannot support any crops. (support: to provide the necessary conditions for crops to grow)
 
4. Imagine a star up to twenty times larger, brighter and hotter than our own sun.
up to: as much as or no more than,至多,多达,直到。More examples:
Up to three hundred people were on board the ship. 船上多达300人。
We teach learners up to intermediate level in our centre. 我们中心将初学者教到中级水平。
I know nothing about it up to now. 直到现在我对此事还一无所知。
Relatively few people are prepared to sacrifice up to a third of their holidays for the pleasure of travelling on a ship. (NCE3 Lesson44)
 
5. A planet would have to be a very long way from it to be capable of supporting life.
be capable of: having the ability to do sth. More examples:
His wife is a very capable woman.
When he's drunk he's capable of saying rude things. ( He is more likely to say rude things.)
 
6. At present, there is no telescope in existence that is capable of detecting the presence of life.
in existence: that exists now. 现存的。如:
这张照片是那个事件的现存唯一记录。(练习(3),汉译英)
presence: being present in a place, 出席,到场,存在。如:
He is usually quite polite in my presence.
The contract was signed in the presence of two witnesses.
 
7. Once we detected a planet, we would have to find a way of blotting out the light from its star, so that we would be able to 'see' the planet properly and analyze its atmosphere.
blot sth out: cover or hide (writing, etc), 涂去(字迹等);hide sth completely, 庶蔽;remove or destroy (thoughts, memories, etc) completely, 消除或抹掉(思想,记忆等)。如:
Several words in the letter had been blotted out.
A dark cloud suddenly blotted out the sun.
她尽力抹掉对那次事故的所有记忆。(练习(4),汉译英)
analyse v. 分析,分解 analysis n. 分析,分解 analytical adj. 分析的,分解的。如:
His report analyses the effect of the policy upon middle class families.
 
8. In the first instance, we would be looking for plant life, rather than 'little green men'.
in the first instance: in the first place, 首先 for instance: for example. 如:
In the first instance, we had better make sure the calculations are correct.
A Frenchman, for instance, might find it hard to laugh at a Russian joke. (NCE3 Lesson29)
We hope you would meet our requirements in this instance. ( in this instance: in this case, in this situation)
 
9. As Earth-dwellers, we always cherish the hope that we will be visited by little green men and that we will be able to communicate with them. But this hope is always in the realms of science fiction.
cherish the hope: 抱有......希望,如:
Like a scientist bent on making a discovery, he must cherish the hope that one day he will be amply rewarded. 就象一个决心要有所发现的科学家一样,他必须抱有有朝一日能如愿以偿的希望。(NCE3 Lesson34)
the realms of science fiction: the fields covered in since fiction
realm: kingdom, 王国;a certain field or area, 领域。如:
In a realm as large as medieval Germany, the king faced a huge task.
She found great pleasures in the realm of history.
人们在态度上的变化将逐渐从理论领域转向实践领域。(练习(5),汉译英)
 
10. No human endeavor or thought would be unchanged by it.
endeavor: n. effort or attempt, 企图,努力;v. try, 试图,竭力。如:
Crossing the North Pole on foot was an amazing feat of human endeavor.
Engineers are still endeavoring to locate the source of this problem.
 

四、单词学习

1、提示:n.名词、adj.形容词、vi.不及物动词、vt.及物动词、adv.副词、prep.介词、pron.代词、int.感叹词、num.数词、abbr.短语缩写
2、双击或选中某个单词可划词查字典,如下图:(手机端无法使用此功能)

划词工具示意图

划词工具示意图

3、单词列表:
astronomy
n. 天文学
relative
adj. 相对的
infinitely
adv. 无限地,无穷地
solar
adj. 太阳系的
Venus
n. 金星
Mars
n. 火星
orbit
n. 运行轨道
astronomical
adj. 天文学的
generate
v. 产生
particle
n. 微粒,粒子
Jupiter
n. 木星
blot
v. 遮暗
analyse
v. 分析
bacteria
n. 细菌
oxygen
n. 氧气
realm
n. 领域
endeavour
v. 努力
 

五、课后练习答案

1b 2c 3a 4b 5c 6a 7a 8c 9a 10c 11b 12a