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第434期
(2021/04/29出刊)
火星首飛成功 創新號完成壯舉

 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully conducted the first helicopter flight on Mars on April 19th. The flight is historic as is the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet. It also opens up a new door for future exploration of other planets in the solar system. NASA said helicopter Ingenuity climbed about 3 meters and hovered for 30 seconds before landing safely on the surface. NASA has compared Ingenuity’s flight to a 21st-century Wright Brothers moment.
 Flying Ingenuity in a controlled manner on Mars is more complex than flying on Earth given the very different conditions on the red planet. Mars’ atmosphere is much thinner, with one percent of Earth’s atmospheric pressure. Also, Mars’ gravity is one-third that of Earth’s. To complete a successful flight, Ingenuity’s blades needed to spin five times faster than they would have to on Earth.
 Additional flight tests are to be carried out, with plans to see if Ingenuity can go a little higher and farther each time. NASA said such helicopters could assist astronauts on future search and collection missions.

 美國太空總署四月十九日成功完成直升機在火星上首飛的壯舉。這次飛行具有歷史意義,因為這是動力飛機第一次在另一個星球上升空飛行,也為日後探索太陽系的其他行星開啟新頁。太空總署表示,直升機「創新號」升空約三公尺高,在空中盤旋三十秒後,安全著陸。他們將創新號的飛行比喻為二十一世紀的「萊特兄弟時刻」。
 由於火星上的環境條件和地球截然不同,操控創新號在火星上飛行,遠比在地球上複雜。例如,火星的大氣層比地球稀薄很多,大氣壓力只有地球的百分之一。此外,火星的重力只有地球的三分之一。因此,為了讓創新號在火星上成功飛行,其旋翼葉片的轉速必須是在地球上轉速的五倍。
 接下來,創新號將進行更多飛行測試,期能在每次的測試中飛得更高更遠。太空總署表示,這種直升機未來能協助太空人在外星球進行搜索與採集的任務。