Part II Reading Comprehension (Skimming and Scanning )(15 minutes) Space Tourism Make your reservations now. The space tourism industry is officially open for business, and tickets are going for a mere $20 million for a one-week stay in space. Despite reluctance from National Air and Space Administration (NASA), Russia made American businessman Dennis Tito the world’s first space tourist. Tito flew into space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket that arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on April 30,2001. The second space tourist, South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth, took off aboard the Russian Soyuz on April 25, 2002, also bound for the ISS. Lance Bass of’N Sync was supposed to be the third to make the $20 million trip, but he did not join the three-man crew as they blasted off on October 30,2002, due to lack of payment. Probably the most incredible aspect of this proposed space tour was that NASA approved of it. These trips are the beginning of what could be a profitable 21st century industry. There are already several space tourism companies planning to build suborbital vehicles and orbital cities within the next two decades. These companies have invested millions, believing that the space tourism industry is on the verge of taking off. In 1997, NASA published a report trips into space to private citizens could be worth billions of dollars. A Japanese report supports these findings, and projects that space tourism could be a $10 billion per year industry within the next two decades. The only obstacles to opening up space to tourists are the space agencies, who are concerned with safety and the development of a reliable, reusable launch vehicle.
Space Accommodations Russia’s Mir space station was supposed to be the first destination for space tourists. But in March 2001, the Russian Agency brought Mir down into the Pacific Ocean. As it turned out, bringing down Mir only temporarily delayed the first tourist trip into space. The Mir crash did cancel plans for a new reality-based game show from NBC, which was going to be called Destination Mir. The survivor-like TV show was scheduled to air in fall 2001. Participants on the show were to go through training at Russia’s cosmonaut(宇航员) training center, Star City. Each week, one of the participants would be eliminated from the show, with the winner receiving a trip to the Mir space station. The Mir crash has ruled out NBC’s now. NASA is against beginning space tourism until the International Space Station is completed in 2006. Russia in not alone in its interest in space tourism. There are several projects underway to commercialize space travel. Here are a few of the groups that might take tourists to space: Space Island Group is going to build a ring-shaped, rotating “commercial space infrastructure(基础结构).”Space Island says it will build its space city out of of empty NASA space-shuttle fuel tanks (to start, it should take around 12 or so), and place it about 400 miles above Earth. The space city will rotate once per minute to create a gravitational pull one-third as strong as Earth’s. According to their vision statement, Space Adventures plants to “fly tents of thousands of people in space over the next 10-15 years and beyond, around the moon, and back, from spaceports both on Earth and in space, to and form private space stations, and aboard dozens of different vehicles…” Even Hilton Hotels has shown interest in the space tourism industry and the possibility of building or co-funding a space hotel. However, the company did say that it believes such a space hotel is 15 to 20 years away. Initially, Space tourism will offer simple accommodations at best. For instance, if the International Space Station is used as a tourist attraction, guests won’t find the Luxurious surroundings of a hotel room on Earth. It has been designed for conducting research, not entertainment. However, the first generation of space hotels should offer tourists a much more comfortable experience. In regard to a concept for a space hotel initially planned by Space Island, such a hotel could offer guests every convenience they might find at a hotel on Earth, and some they might not. The small gravitational pull created by the rotating space city would allow space-tourists and residents to walk around and function normally within the structure. Everything from running water to a recycling plant to medical facilities would be possible. Additionally, space tourists would even be able to take space walks. Many of these companies believe that they have to offer an extremely enjoyable experience in order for passengers to pay thousands, if not millions, of dollars to ride into space. So will space create another separation between the haves and have-nots? The Most Expensive Vacation Will space be an exotic retreat reserved for only the wealthy? Or will middle-class folks have a chance to take their families to space? Make no mistake about it, going to space will be the most expensive vacation you ever take. Prices right now are in the tens of millions of dollars. Currently, the only vehicles that can take you into space are the space shuttle and the Russian Soyuz, both of which are terribly inefficient. Each spacecraft requires millions of pounds of fuel to take off into space, which makes them expensive to launch. One pound of payload (有效栽载重) costs about $10,000 to put into Earth’s orbit. NASA and Lockheed Martin are currently developing a single-stage-to-orbit launch space plane, called the VentureStar , that could be launched for about a tenth of what the space shuttle costs to launch. If the VentureStar takes off, the number of people who could afford to take a trip into space would move into the millions. In 1998, a joint report from NASA and the Space Transportation Association stated that improvements in technology could push fares for space travel as low as $50,000, and possibly down to $20,000 or $10,000 a decade later. The report concluded that at a ticket price of $50,000, there could be 500,000 passengers flying into space each year. While still leaving out many people, these prices would open up space to a tremendous amount of traffic. Since the beginning of the space race, the general public has said, “Isn’t that great-when do I get to go?” Well, our chance might be closer than ever. Within the next 20 Years, space planes could be taking off for the Moon at the same frequency as airplanes flying between New York and Los Angeles. 注意：此部分试题请在答题卡1上作答。 1． Lance Bass wasn’t able to go on a tour of space because of health problems. 2． Several tourism companies believe space travel is going to be a new profitable industry. 3． The space agencies are reluctant to open up space to tourists. 4． Two Australian billionaires have been placed on the waiting list for entering space as private passengers. 5． The prize for the winner in the fall 2001 NBC TV game show would have been ________. 6． Hilton Hotels believes it won’t be long before it is possible to build a ______________. 7． In order for space tourists to walk around and function normally, it is necessary for the space city to create a ________________. 8． What makes going to space the most expensive vacation is the enormous cost involved in ______. 9． Each year 500,000 space tourists could be flying into space if ticket prices could be lowered to _________. 10. Within the next two decades, __________ could be as common as intercity air travel.
Part II Reading Comprehension (Skimming and Scanning) 1. N 2. Y3. Y 4. NG 5. a trip to the Mir Space Station6. a space hotel 7. small gravitational pull 8. the fuel to take off / launch9. $50,00010. space travel