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[双语]美国小姐妹复制火星探测器 创举始于好奇心

2013-11-28 05:34| 发布者: coke| 查看: 522| 评论: 0|原作者: 赵洋   |来自: 中国日报网站  

摘要:      There's no stopping these two science sisters.   Meet Camille and Genevieve Beatty, who at 13 and 11 are being hailed for building a functioning scale model of the Mars rover that is ...
  

  There's no stopping these two science sisters.

  Meet Camille and Genevieve Beatty, who at 13 and 11 are being hailed for building a functioning scale model of the Mars rover that is now a permanent fixture at the famed New York Hall of Science.

  The Beatty rover is a near replica of the early version NASA sent to Mars in 2004 and was unveiled in early August with hoopla that's made the red-headed North Carolina siblings science rock stars.

  "To have two young girls building our Mars rover is exactly the kind of thing we want to have happen here," said Margaret Honey, president and CEO of the science center that sits on the grounds of the 1964 Worlds Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in the borough of Queens.

  The girls' drive to build their rover was inspired by a documentary on the robotic exploration of the Red Planet.

  But their love of science all started with a little "destructive curiosity," says their father, Robert Beatty, who guided their enthusiasm for engineering.

  "Camille kept taking things apart. She would bring me a dismantled remote-control box or a dismantled clock, and she’d say, ‘Dad, what’s this little green thing in here.’”

  He didn’t have all the answers, but he was intrigued by her curiosity and asked if she wanted to build something herself.

  You bet they did.

  From remote controls . . . to robots

  Then life in the Beatty household started to get interesting. The sisters went from taking things apart to putting things together.

  "We would just experiment," said Camille. "We started small, using off-the-shelf RadioShack parts. Then we decided let's go huge with it . . . and build a robot!"

  Over the course of two years, the Beatty family built several robots — ones that could roll, crawl and even fly.

  The family also built a website chronicling the girls' robot-making adventures. Initially meant to keep family and friends up to date on various projects, the Beatty Robotics site quickly gained a following.

  From North Carolina . . . to the Big Apple

  Even the folks at the New York Hall of Science were impressed. They were already planning to redo the Mars exhibit when they decided to commission the girls and their dad.

  "We didn't set out to look for two girls to build our Mars rover. We were actually looking for companies that had robotics expertise," said Honey.

  The Beatty girls' Mars rover isn't a toy or a model. It's a remarkable working version with more than 750 parts, many of them built by the family from scratch. It has rotating wheels and sensors that keep it from bumping into walls. It also has a high-tech suspension system that allows it to grapple with rough terrain.

  "We studied the actual rover very closely," their father said. "The pictures, the drawings. ... We did everything we could to replicate it in every way."

  A family that builds robots . . .

  What's the secret to keeping children’s interest in longer-term projects? A former mechanical engineer, Robert Beatty believes in sparking the girls’ interest but letting them do all the work.

  "They get the screwdriver or soldering iron. They are doing the work and so stay very engaged."

  He says the experience has had a very positive role in the girls' lives outside the workshop, as well.

  "One of my main goals in this was to give them a sense of self-empowerment. If they set up a goal, they can go and do it — whether it’s a job, climbing a mountain or building a robot."

  The best part about building robots? Spending time with their dad. "It's made our bond amazingly close, between all of us," Camille said.

  据美国媒体8月22日报道,美国北卡罗莱纳州的一对小姐妹自己动手,制作出能够实际运转的火星探测器模型。如今,该模型已经成为纽约科学馆的永久藏品。

  卡米尔 贝蒂和吉纳维芙 贝蒂分别只有13岁和11岁,她们在父亲的指导下耗时2年制成了自己的探测器。贝蒂探测器绝不仅仅是模型或者玩具,它能够实际运转,类似于2004年美国宇航局发射的早期版本的火星探测器。

  探测器由750个零件组成,其中不少是自制的。探测器装有轮子和感应装置,可以顺利移动,不会撞墙,还有高科技悬浮系统,能够有效应对崎岖地形。纽约科学馆8月初向公众展示贝蒂探测器,引来一片赞扬。

  姐妹们的父亲罗伯特 贝蒂是一名机械工程师,指导女儿制作探测器。罗伯特表示,姐妹们热爱科学,并从一点点“破坏性的好奇心”开始。他说:“卡米尔不断拆分东西。她曾经拿给我一个拆开的遥控器或者钟表,然后说‘爸爸,这个绿色的小玩意是什么?’”后来,姐妹们观看了一部有关火星的纪录片,深受感染。父亲顺水推舟,鼓励她们自己动手建造探测器。从此,贝蒂家的生活越来越有趣。姐妹俩的兴趣也从拆分转向组装。

  卡米尔说:“我们当初只是试试看,用废弃的零件从小东西开始。后来我们决定做大……造一个机器人!”过去两年,贝蒂家人制作了多个机器人——它们可以翻滚、爬行,甚至飞翔。他们还创建了网站,记录小姐妹制造机器人的奇异经历。

  纽约科学馆工作人员注意到贝蒂的网站,并委托小姐妹及其父亲制作探测器,当时,科技馆已经计划推出火星展览。

  纽约科学馆主席兼首席执行官玛格丽特 哈尼说:“我们最初并没打算找两个女孩来制造我们的火星探测器。我们其实在寻找有机器人专业技术的公司。”哈尼同时称赞贝蒂姐妹们说:“两个女孩建造火星探测器恰恰是我们希望看到的事情。”

  卡米尔表示,建造机器人最棒的地方在于能和父亲在一起,她说,“它使我们所有人之间的关系奇妙地密切起来。”

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  (译者 yuanlu 编辑 王琦琛)


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