A student discussion

A student discussion

Listen to two students comparing Mars and Earth to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



Teacher: So you've got a few minutes to discuss with your partner.

Student 1: So, as far as I know, the main similarity between Mars and Earth is that they can both support human life.

Student 2: Yeah, but do we know that's actually true? I mean, Mars is much colder than Earth, isn't it? It says here it's about minus 55 degrees most of the time, whereas on Earth only places like Antarctica get that cold.

Student 1: True. Well then, I suppose you could say both planets are a similar distance from the Sun?

Student 2: No way! Mars is much further away! It says here it's about 228 million kilometres, while Earth is about 150 million.

Student 1: Yes, but in space that's not that far. Jupiter is, like, almost 780 million kilometres. That's why we use astronomical units when we talk about distances in space. Earth is 1 astronomical unit from the Sun and Mars is 1.3. The difference doesn't sound so big when you look at it that way.

Student 2: I see what you mean. Jupiter is 5.2 astronomical units so I guess you're right. What other similarities are there between the two planets?

Student 1: Let's see … not the colour, obviously!

Student 2: Yeah! Earth is called the blue planet and Mars is called the red planet for pretty obvious reasons!

Student 1: Their sizes are pretty different. Mars is about half the size of Earth.

Student 2: What about this? It looks like the days on both planets are almost the same length. Earth's day is 24 hours but Mars's is about half an hour longer.

Student 1: You're right. OK, any other things they both share?

Student 2: I suppose you could say they have water in common.

Student 1: Could you? How?

Student 2: Well, Earth is 70 per cent water and Mars probably had huge oceans in the past. It's just that most of the water there now is probably frozen.

Student 1: Ah, I see. I don't think we can say the air is the same, though. Most of Earth's air is nitrogen and oxygen, but Mars …?

Student 2: Mars doesn't really have air, not compared with Earth. It's got about one per cent as much air as Earth.

Student 1: Right, and it's mostly carbon dioxide.

Student 2: Gravity is another difference. I didn't know this, but Mars has higher gravity than the Moon. But it's much less than on Earth, of course.

Student 1: Oh, yes. It says Mars has about 38 per cent of Earth's gravity.

Teacher: OK, let's see what you've found …


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Average: 4.3 (259 votes)

Submitted by vilma caram on Tue, 25/02/2020 - 13:17

I don't believe human can leave in Mars.We aren't adapted for living in another atmosphere
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Submitted by Nikolaos Stavr… on Mon, 24/02/2020 - 15:07

I say yes, but that will be after many years and I really don't know if people on Earth will have survived until then.

Submitted by mselmi on Wed, 19/02/2020 - 21:16

As it's always very cold and there is no enough oxygen like on earth, it's very difficult that man can one day live on Mars. If this will happen one day, it will not be confortable and will not go beyond the experimental step.

Submitted by Sara mohammed on Mon, 17/02/2020 - 22:10

I think life on mars will be possible one day in the future through the advanced facilities provided by technology

Submitted by shahhoseini on Mon, 10/02/2020 - 14:29

No, I don't. I think life on Mars is impossible.

Submitted by galina.radkova on Tue, 04/02/2020 - 18:58

The topic is very interesting and actual. It was nice to hear this conversation.

Submitted by danunahoi on Tue, 04/02/2020 - 13:19

Task 1 answers said that: "Earth has less carbon dioxide". But we can see in the text: "Student 2: Mars doesn't really have air, not compared with Earth. It's got about one per cent as much air as Earth. Student 1: Right, and it's mostly carbon dioxide." It means that at least 50% of Mars atmosphere consists of CO2. Let's even take 10%. And, according to the text, we can esteem: this CO2 volume is 0,1% of Earth air, whereas CO2 on Earth takes only 0,04% of total Earth air volume. Therefore we can accurately say, that Earth has MORE carbon dioxide. IMHO this question is generally incorrect

Hello danunahoi

You are right, that question is a bit confusing and perhaps even wrong. I've reworded that part of the exercise so that it's clearer now.

I'm very sorry for the confusion. Thanks very much for taking the time to help us improve this page!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by huyentran on Tue, 04/02/2020 - 03:07

i think human have the way to live in Mars but The environment on Mars is not suitable for humans. I think it would be great if humans could make the trip to Mars for everyone.
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Submitted by risen47 on Mon, 27/01/2020 - 20:02

although living in mars is very interesting ; living human in mars for long time is very bad effect in our body . we must think about gravity the mars ; because the human body made for living in earth and if we live in mars we get sick suck as less the body bones then we could't grow our children in mars.