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Return to the Moon 返回月球
[ 2006-08-30 08:00 ]

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An astronaut stands on the surface of the Moon

Scientists in the UK have expressed their enthusiasm for China’s plans to explore the Moon with robotic spacecraft, and are keen to take part in the adventure.

British scientists are seeking to collaborate with their Chinese counterparts on the Cheng’e programme. This four-phase programme could see the return of astronauts to the moon’s surface for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

Ties between the Chinese and UK space community have been strengthened since a visit to China made by a team of British academics, agency officials, and space scientists earlier this year. At that time discussions took place regarding the UK building scientific instruments for the second phase of China’s lunar missions .

One British academic who participated in the discussions, Professor John Zarnecki of the Open University said, "I think they are looking for significant collaboration. They have got good technology themselves but they will admit that they are fairly new in space science; so they don't have all of the instrument capabilities and so on."

China has already established itself as the third space superpower, having successfully launched two manned spaceflights – last year two Chinese astronauts spent five days in orbit before safely returning to Earth. But China’s space ambitions don’t stop there. As well as a lunar landing, plans are being made to set up a permanent space station .

The UK, on the other hand, has had a more modest space programme. Only a handful of Britons have broken free of the Earth’s atmosphere. Most recently, UK-born astronaut, Piers Sellers, spent thirteen days on board the American space shuttle Discovery.

However, British space exploration has not always gone according to plan. The Beagle 2 probe to Mars disappeared without a trace on Christmas Day 2003.


GLOSSARY 词汇表 (收听发音, 请单击英语单词) 

robotic spacecraft 机器人宇宙飞船

take part 参与, 参加 
 
seeking 寻找 collaborate 合作 
counterparts 相对应的人, 同仁 astronauts 宇航员 
 
scientific instruments 科学仪器 academics 学习,学术
participated 参加, 参与 lunar missions 月球探测使命  

manned spaceflights 载人航天

in orbit 进入轨道   
lunar landing 登陆月球 
space station 空间站
broken free 挣脱, 脱离 atmosphere 大气

probe 探测 
        

disappeared without a trace 消失得无影无踪


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