六级听力:地球为什么是圆的?

Why the Earth Is Round?

地球为什么是圆的?

Our never-thought to ask question for today is: Why is the earth round? Why not a cube? A cube? No, that's silly. Is it? Why?

今天,我们“从未想过的问题”是:地球为什么是圆的?为什么不是方形的?方形?那太可笑了。是吗?为什么?

Because..., because really big things like to be round for some reason. Exactly right.And that reason is gravity.

因为……因为非常大的东西通常都是圆的。完全正确。这个原因就是重力。

Think of it this way. Suppose the earth were a cube. Then some points on its surface would be farther away from the center than others. The corners, for example, would be much farther out than the rest.

我们这样想,假设地球是一个立方体。而地球表面的某些端点离中间或其它端点比较远。比如,立方体的各个角离得很远。

Since gravity works equally on everything, there would be a tendency to pull those uneven places down. The surface would even itself out. The only geometrical object in which every point on the surface is the same distance from the center is a sphere.

由于重力对所有物质的作用是相等的,因此不均匀的地方会被向下拉。表面使其本身变得平均。唯一一个表面上的每个角到中心距离都相等的几何物体就是球体。

But wait a minute, I've seen pictures of asteroids that have all sorts of crazy shapes. Why aren't they round? Only because they aren't big enough for gravity to be a determining factor. If an asteroid were to suddenly become as big as a moon, it would indeed rearrange itself gradually into a sphere.

等一下,我看过很多行星的图片,它们都是奇形怪状的。它们为什么不是圆的?那只是因为行星太小,重力不能成为其决定因素。如果行星突然变得和月亮一样大,它就会真正重新安排逐渐变成一个球体。