فصل 32

مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: 2001 - اودیسه فضایی / فصل 32

کتاب های متوسط

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فصل 32

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  • زمان مطالعه 4 دقیقه
  • سطح متوسط

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER THIRTY TWO

Life in Space

Apart from quick meals in the kitchen, Bowman spent almost all his time in the Control Room. He slept in his seat so he could see any trouble as soon as the first signs of it appeared on the screen. Under instructions from Mission Control, he had built several emergency systems which were working quite well. It even seemed possible that he would live until the Discovery reached Saturn. Of course the ship would get there whether he was alive or not.

Though he had little time for sight-seeing, there were views through Discovery’s windows that often made it difficult to concentrate on the problems of survival. He could see many stars, but Alpha Centauri always seemed to attract Bowman’s eyes and mind when he looked into space. This was the nearest of all stars beyond the Solar System, but its light had taken four years to reach him.

There was obviously some connection between TMA-1 and Saturn, but no one believed that the builders of the rock could possibly come from there. As a place to live, Saturn was even more dangerous than Jupiter.

But if these creatures had come from beyond the Solar System, how had they travelled the enormous distance from the nearest star?

Scientists reminded people that Discovery, the fastest ship ever designed, would take twenty thousand years to reach Alpha Centauri. Even if, at some time in the future, ships’ engines improved greatly, in the end there would still be the problem of the speed of light. No material object could go faster than this. Therefore the builders of TMA-1 had shared the same sun as Man, and since they had made no appearance in modern times, they had probably died out.

A small number of scientists disagreed. Even if it took centuries to travel from star to star, they said, this might not stop really keen explorers. Hibernation, as used on Discovery, was one possible answer. Also, why should we believe that all intelligent life lived for as short a time as Man? There might be creatures in the Universe to whom a thousand-year voyage might be uninteresting, but certainly possible.

There was also discussion about what such creatures would look like. Some believed that the human shape of two legs, two arms and a head at the top was so sensible that it was hard to think of a better one. Others said that the human body was just a result of chance over millions of years. If circumstances had been different, it would not have developed in the same way.

There were other thinkers who held even stranger views. They felt that as soon as it was technically possible, bodies would be replaced by machines. On Earth this process was starting to happen, with the replacement of some parts of the body which had stopped working.

And eventually, even brains might go. The war between mind and machine might be settled at last with a true partnership.

But was even this the end? Some had even more extreme views and argued that the mind might eventually free itself from all physical limits. The mechanical body, like the flesh-and-blood one, might only be a stage on the way to something which, long ago, men called ‘spirit’.

And if there was anything beyond that, its name could only be God.

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