又中又英——Flying Saucers

  Many people may not know why Mars is called the Red Planet. I did not know until I researched it years ago. It is called the Red Planet because iron minerals in the Martian soil oxidize, or rust, causing the soil and atmosphere to look red. America’s space agency NASA last week successfully landed its Perseverance Mars rover on Mars to search for ancient signs of life. The word “rover” used this way means a vehicle that is used to explore places in outer space such as Mars and the moon. When the six-wheeled robotic rover landed on Mars last week and beamed (sent) colour images of the planet’s surface to Earth, NASA scientists were awestruck. They said they felt like they were on cloud nine.

  The word “awestruck” used this way means amazed or filled with admiration. If you are on cloud nine, it means you are extremely happy and excited. One scientist said although the rover will spend several years searching for ancient life, don’t expect it to find little green men. The expression “little green men” is often used to describe small human-like creatures with green skin from other planets. Some science fiction movies show aliens from other planets as little green men. The expression is often used to describe aliens on Mars. But, of course, Mars does not have little green men.

  The expression became popular in the 1950s when there were reports of flying saucers. A saucer is a small plate for a teacup. Old science fiction movies made alien spaceships look like saucers. In 1955, two men in the US state of Kentucky said they saw metallic-silver human-like aliens about four feet tall. One US newspaper described the aliens as “little green men”. Other media started using the expression. It became a jokingly popular description for creatures from Mars and other planets. The NASA rover won’t find little green men on Mars but I believe aliens exist on other planets. Space is huge. Earth cannot be the only planet with life.

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  許多人或許不知道,為何火星會叫做 「紅色行星」(Red Planet)。我也不知道,直至我多年前研究了一下。它被稱為「紅色行星」(Red Planet),是因火星土壤中的鐵質氧化,或說生鏽,令其土壤和大氣看起來紅紅的。上星期,美國太空總署的火星探測車(rover)「毅力號」成功登陸火星,嘗試尋找遠古生命存在的痕跡。Rover在這裏是指在外太空的地方,例如火星和月球上進行探索的車。當這架六輪機械車(rover)上星期登陸火星,並傳送(beamed)行星表面的彩色影像回地球時,太空總署的科學家都驚奇不已(awestruck)。他們說,他們感覺飄飄然,像飛到「九霄雲外」(cloud nine)了。

  Awestruck在這裏是指十分驚奇或心生敬畏的。若你是 on cloud nine,意即你極其高興、樂不可支。一位科學家說,雖然這輛探測車(rover)將會花上幾年時間搜尋遠古生命的證明,可不要期望它會找到little green men。習語“little green men”通常用來形容有着綠色皮膚、矮小的人形外星生物。一些科幻電影都會將來自其他星球的外星人塑造成小綠人(little green men)的形象。這個習語也不時用來形容來自火星的外星人。然而,火星當然沒有所謂的小綠人(little green men)。

  這個習語在一九五○年代很流行,當時有不少飛碟(flying saucers)的目擊報告。A saucer就是用來托着茶杯的茶碟。舊科幻電影都會將外星太空船造得像茶碟(saucers)。一九五五年,美國肯塔基州有兩個男人聲稱他們見到金屬銀色、約四呎高的人形外星生物。一份美國報章就將那些外星人形容為“little green men”,其他媒體亦開始使用這個說法。它變成了普遍對於火星或其他星球來的生物一個開玩笑的形容詞。太空總署的探測車(rover)在火星上不會找到小綠人(little green men),但我相信在其他星球上確實有外星人存在。太空廣大遼闊,地球不可能是唯一擁有生命的星球。中譯:七刻

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中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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