Pluto, a frigid little world inhabiting the solar system’s outer reaches, may have been born as a warmer place sheltering a subsurface ocean that still exists today, researchers said on Monday. An analysis of images of its surface taken in 2015 by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and computer simulations of the dwarf planet’s interior led the researchers to propose a “hot start” scenario for Pluto’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago as the solar system, including Earth, took shape.
“When Pluto was forming, new material would have been coming in and impacting its surface. Each impact is like an explosion that would warm the nearby area,” said University of California Santa Cruz planetary scientist Carver Bierson, lead author of the research published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
“If Pluto formed slowly, the surface would cool between each impact and generally stay very cold. If Pluto formed quickly, you have impact on top of impact and the surface doesn’t have time to cool. We calculate that if Pluto formed in less than 30,000 years, the heat from these impacts could have been sufficient to lead to an early ocean,” Bierson added.
Photo: Reuters 照片：路透
Pluto, orbiting the sun about 40 times further than Earth in a region called the Kuiper Belt, may possess an icy outer shell hundreds of kilometers thick atop an ocean of water perhaps mixed with salts and ammonia, with a solid rocky core below, Bierson said. Under this scenario, parts of the ocean would gradually freeze over time. Water expands as it freezes, and cracks on Pluto’s surfacing may be evidence of this. Pluto’s surface temperature is about -230°C.
Because water is considered a vital ingredient for life, a subsurface ocean could make Pluto a long-shot candidate for harboring living organisms. “Water could have been interacting chemically with the rocky core beneath the ocean, giving you more chemical ingredients to work with,” Bierson added. “Are those the right ingredients for life? We don’t know. We need to learn more about how life forms, or how life could form, to find these answers.”
1. frigid adj.
嚴寒的 (yan2 han2 de5)
2. scenario n.
情境 (qing2 jing4)
3. impact n.
撞擊、衝擊 (zhuang4 ji2, chong1 ji2)
4. ingredient n.
成分、要素 (cheng2 fen4, yao4 su4)
5. long-shot candidate phr. 機會不大的候選人
(ji1 hui4 bu2 da4 de5 hou4 xuan3 ren2)
6. harbor v.
庇護 (bi4 hu4)
Pets are an inseparable part of people’s lives in the modern world. About 65 percent of US households have at least one pet. On a psychological level, pet companionship can bring better psychological wellbeing; on a biological level, our furry friends can boost human immunity. According to a report in Psychology Today, a review carried out by researchers from the UK’s University of Manchester found that the companionship of pets can result in better psychological wellbeing for people with mental health conditions. The diabetes research center of the University of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital analyzed data from over 3 million people,
A: Hello, I’d like to book a table for two please. For 7 o’clock, if possible. B: Certainly, sir. Let me see if I can fit you in. I’m afraid we’re fully booked at that time, but we do have a space at 8pm. A: No problem, 8pm will be fine. B: Thank you. I‘ve reserved you a table for two for 8pm. Just to let you know, we operate a “bring your own” policy for wine, and corkage is NT$50 per bottle. A: OK. See you later on. A: 你好，我想要訂位，兩個人，方便的話晚上七點。 B: 好的，先生。讓我看看能不能幫您安排座位。不好意思，我們那段時間的訂位滿了，不過晚上八點還有空位。 A: 沒問題，晚上八點可以。 B: 謝謝您。我幫您預約晚上八點，兩個人的座位。另外，提醒您本餐廳關於「自行帶酒」的規定，每瓶酒酌收新台幣五十元開瓶費。 A: 好的。我們晚點見。 （Edward Jones,
Let’s dine out tonight (3/5) 今晚我們去餐廳吃飯吧（三） A: Hmm. . . I can’t decide what to order. I’m hesitating between a lamb rogan josh or a beef vindaloo. B: Well, let’s order both and share the dishes. We can also order the tandoori king prawns that I was just eyeing up. A: The prawn dish will perfectly complement the bottle of Australian Chardonnay that I’ve brought along. It’s a great wine, with notes of peaches and lemongrass. B: Cool! Let’s also order some butter naan bread and pilau rice for two. A: 嗯……我無法決定要點哪一道菜。我正在猶豫要點喀什米爾羊肉咖哩，還是辛辣香料牛肉咖哩。 B: 啊，那我們兩個都點，然後分著吃吧。我們還可以點一份坦都里香料烤明蝦，我剛剛一直在看這道菜。 A: 這道明蝦應該能完美搭配我帶來的這瓶澳洲夏多內白葡萄酒。這瓶酒真的很棒哦，帶有桃子和檸檬草的香氣。 B: 酷！那我們也點一些奶油烤餅，和兩人份的香料米飯吧。 （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） WARNING: Excessive consumption of alcohol can damage
Literary circles have been celebrating the legacy of late writer Eileen Chang, who would have turned 100 on Wednesday next week. Born in Shanghai, the legendary writer shot to fame in her 20s, and continued to write after moving to Hong Kong, and then the US, in the 1950s. Chang is one of the greatest female Chinese writers, and her classic works include Love in a Fallen City, The Golden Cangue, and The Red Rose and the White Rose. Many of her novels, such as Lust, Caution, were adapted into films and TV drama series. Based on Chang’s novel Aloeswood Incense