فصل 20

مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: 2001 - اودیسه فضایی / فصل 20

کتاب های متوسط

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فصل 20

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  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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CHAPTER TWENTY

The World of the Gods

But they had not yet finished with Jupiter. Far behind, the two probes that Discovery had sent out were making their first contact with, the atmosphere.

One was never heard from again. It had probably entered too steeply and burned up before it could send any information. The second was more successful. It sliced through the upper layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere, then swung out into space again. It had then lost so much speed that, as planned, it began to fall back again towards the planet. Two hours later, it re-entered the atmosphere on the daylight side - moving at over a hundred thousand kilometers an hour.

Immediately it was surrounded by a cloud of gas, and radio contact was lost. There were anxious moments of waiting then, for the two watchers in the Control Room. They could not be certain that the probe would not burn up completely.

But the protective cover did its job, long enough for the probe to slow down. It then pushed out its scientific instruments and began to look around. On Discovery, now almost half a million kilometers away, the radio started to bring the first news from Jupiter.

Most of it was details about pressure, temperature and a dozen other changing features which the scientists on Earth would Study later. However, there was one message that could be understood; it was the TV picture.

At first they could only see yellow mist, mixed with red areas that moved past the camera at high speed as the probe fell at several hundred kilometers an hour. The mist grew thicker, and it was impossible to tell if the camera was seeing for ten centimeters or ten kilometers. Then, suddenly, the mist disappeared as the probe fell out of this first layer of cloud.

The scene below was so strange that for a moment it was almost meaningless to an eye accustomed to the colors and shapes of Earth. It looked like an endless sea of gold, with grey waves running across it. But there was no movement, and it could not possibly be an ocean because the probe was still high in the planet’s atmosphere. It had to be another layer of cloud.

Then the camera caught something. Many kilometers away coming up through the cloud, was a curiously regular mountain. Around the top of this were other small white clouds, all about the same size, all quite separate.

Poole and Bowman stared at this, the first sight of something on Jupiter that might be solid. But they would learn nothing more, because now the probe was reaching the end of its life, it sank lower and lower, the pressure of the gas on it grew great. With one warning flash, the picture disappeared.

Poole and Bowman had the same thought in their minds, there was life down there, how long would it take to find it. After that, how long before men could follow this first probe and in what kind of ship?

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