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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Worksheet82.41 KB

Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)

Submitted by Emily Mellor on Tue, 17/08/2021 - 13:19

No, I don't think so. People can't live on Mars due to it's temperature and air. I think people can't stand minus 55 degrees and can't live without having oxygen. Besides, water in Mars is frozen. It is difficult either to grow plants or to survive animals and humans. Because of these reasons, Mars may be hostile environment for human beings. So, I suppose people can't live on Mars.
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Submitted by Kadir on Sat, 14/08/2021 - 20:10

In 21.century a lot of people, a lot of scientist are discussing about "where can we live another planet or solar system form the Earth." But none of us don't try to make the world more livable place. We still built more factories, buy more cars, built more huge buildings etc. Whereas day to day we cut more forest and we make dirty our environment, seas, lakes and rivers. Actually we're not doing anything to save the Earth.

Submitted by Elías Amitai on Mon, 09/08/2021 - 18:55

Yes I think so. Or at least I think we will be forced to attempt it in a near future. Since we humans are depleting all of our natural resources.

Submitted by KATIELLE RAIAN… on Tue, 27/07/2021 - 10:11

I don't think people should do that. Because life on Earth is difficult enough, imagine on another planet.

Submitted by mariadanielale… on Sun, 04/07/2021 - 20:23

Yes I do. People will live on Mars one day. There are many people researching about that. And I think some day they will find the way to live there without oxygen.
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Submitted by iEdd on Thu, 01/07/2021 - 20:58

I reconk maybe people will live there. A few og humanity, as a kind of experiment, not for being a attepmt to survive because life's condiotion on Earth won't be good.

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Thu, 17/06/2021 - 18:12

Yes, I do. In my opinion people will live on Mars one day, because science is in an advanced level, and also astronomy is very development nowadays.
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Submitted by Khin Yee Mon Khaing on Wed, 16/06/2021 - 07:54

I don't think because we all human needs oxygen to live.Mars has no oxygen whereas it has water.

Submitted by Pann Nilar Htun on Wed, 16/06/2021 - 06:00

I don't think people can live in Mars. Because there is too cold and 1/3 smaller than Earth. But it can be changed by time to time. I interested to visit to the Mars, red planet.

Submitted by fontan on Sun, 02/05/2021 - 23:57

Maybe we will maybe we won't, We need time to discover something to move Mars or another planet. I believe there are lots of things to discover in the Earth for example oceans and seas. My be we'll discover something and it works in a new technology. And maybe this technology will help us about air issue. Maybe We have to learn how to beautify our environment and live respectful with ourselves and the other living things.

Submitted by Mai Khin Nway Shein on Sat, 24/04/2021 - 15:59

I don't think people will live on Mars cause God created us on the earth, not on Mars. You can only live where God allows. No matter how good technologies and science, you can not do it without God's permission.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Thu, 15/04/2021 - 04:15

May be, but not so easy, Human needs air. Human lives is where have the air. Air is most important thing to live in other planets. But we should plant trees, to save the Earth. Earth is most beautiful place than others.

Submitted by Paula Bermúdez… on Wed, 14/04/2021 - 02:41

I consider it is a real possibility. Nowadays there is a lot of technology and that has permitted humans discovered different things about space and other planets, so in some years, maybe, we can live on other planets.

Submitted by MelizaDi on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 01:52

Yes, this is the reason why they study that planet. This world is dying and they need options to get out of here before we humans become extinct (although it would be best).

Submitted by AYLIN SC on Wed, 07/04/2021 - 04:04

One day maybe if a catastrophic event doesn't happen before, but really i think we have more opportunities in this planet almost for most people.

Submitted by jeison0894 on Mon, 05/04/2021 - 14:58

In reality, many organizations and groups interested in making it possible for humans to colonize Mars are working hard on that and making great strides, especially Elon Musk's space company SpaceX, who said he hopes to get the first humans there by 2024. Perhaps this is something we will see sooner than we imagine.

Submitted by Morrow on Mon, 05/04/2021 - 09:16

I think if there is no place in the earth, we must make Mars be livable planet then.

Submitted by ANOUAR on Thu, 01/04/2021 - 14:08

Yes, they will discover Mars and they will live in it if it's possible, just like in the past when we dreamed of reaching the moon and now this dream becomes a reality...

Submitted by Frank Cuello on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 20:56

Considering the facts that the students discuss in the audio, I think it is barely possible that we can live on Mars.

Submitted by karapetanya on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 17:32

I think people will live on Mars one day,because we already have this idea.Also scientists are investigating this planet for life. Ofcourse we can think about moving to another planet,but it's more important to take care about our Earth.It is incredible.I am sorry for my mistakes,please correct me if you want

Submitted by Jos2021 on Sat, 20/03/2021 - 21:53

Yeah. As Soon as humans find out about some resources in Mars

Submitted by Kay on Tue, 16/03/2021 - 22:19

Maybe someday, that will happen, as technology advance. Who could have thought that man will visit the moon some centuries past? My point is human has the innate capacity to think and bring forth witty inventions of which advancement that could aid human lives in Mars could be possible.

Submitted by In on Sun, 14/03/2021 - 07:52

Well, maybe someday. But if we take care of the Earth first sounds better to me. I mean, if we are going to destroy Mars as well, it doesn`t make sense to go to live there.
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Submitted by Enas Almzoghi on Wed, 10/03/2021 - 16:36

No, I don`t think so. I think if we can live on Mars, we can find life there.

Submitted by Ari on Mon, 08/03/2021 - 19:32

Well, maybe one day people will be able to live on Mars. But I just can't figure out why people do such terrible things? We have a wonderful, unique and living planet. And why is humanity killing such a valuable gift as Earth, and at the same time trying to revive a dead planet? Do they think life on Mars will be better or more convenient? I don't think so. Perhaps one day people will live on the Red Planet, but I think that our children don't deserve such a life.

Submitted by Shalom on Sun, 07/03/2021 - 00:33

I doubt that humans will live there at all.

Submitted by Leila77 on Tue, 02/03/2021 - 09:34

I found a problem with the audio; it stopped at 1mn 41.

Hello Leila77,

The audio just played for me, so I imagine that it was a temporary error. If you are still not able to play all of the audio, I'd suggest downloading it to see if that works better. If you're on a computer, you can right-click on the audio player and save it on your computer.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I have just downloaded the audio, and I can now listen to the entire discussion. Thanks for your help.

Submitted by SoNSKrill on Fri, 26/02/2021 - 14:29

In my opinion, we will reach a point that the humanity will need to colonize other planets to survive. Maybe that sound too far, but will happen.

Submitted by yerurias on Thu, 25/02/2021 - 21:45

I don't think so, i believe humans are just going to live here on earth, probably it is possible to go there, but not to live and make a place crowded of people how here on earth.

Submitted by Cesar Silva Gajardo on Tue, 23/02/2021 - 15:46

Yes, i think we will do. There is a possibility that a suitable technology may be tested and developed. It's a matter of time to happen.

Submitted by Fabiola03 on Wed, 17/02/2021 - 23:54

with this listening y can learning more about mars very interesting.

Submitted by ArtemenkoArtem on Sun, 14/02/2021 - 17:01

It is no doubt, that one day people will be forced to colonize the Red planet. One day it won't be a dream which we want to fulfil. At least a necessity.

Submitted by Pola on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 14:24

I think in one day we might live in Mars due to technology progressing to build settlements on the Red planet, despite there's no chance similar Earth planet in the universe.

Submitted by zohal shuja on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 06:46

yes. In the future people would live on Mars however, its very cold but people would find the way to live there. nothing is impossible

Submitted by German on Wed, 10/02/2021 - 02:09

Yes, I will. I think that the people will live in another planet in the future. For this we are research in another planet and searching life to can live there.

Submitted by Alessandro893 on Wed, 03/02/2021 - 00:37

Maybe in 15 years It could be possible with the new Technology.

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Tue, 02/02/2021 - 00:06

The latest technology and science research and experiments maybe able to fulfil this dream This maybe possible, hopefully in the future.

Submitted by safirapw on Sun, 31/01/2021 - 13:23

i'm not so sure, consider about the weather on mars, not all people can live in cold place

Submitted by MattMontana on Wed, 27/01/2021 - 15:32

Yes, for sure. The thing is that people are going to live on mars but as Robots or Androids. The way we are walking is taking us there.

Submitted by Vancanucks27 on Tue, 26/01/2021 - 02:34

Base on Study Tress can grow to mars,just have to compress the atmosphere into a greenhouse and plant them in soil that has been filtered of Mars' perchlorate salt that's toxic to higher life. a) The ground isn't suitable for plants. There aren't enough minerals and there is no water. And if there is liquid water, it's extremely salty.

Submitted by Htet Su Naing on Mon, 25/01/2021 - 16:05

I have no idea. It's probably one day. How can I guess what will happen in he future?

Submitted by Bodo kh on Sun, 24/01/2021 - 22:42

I don't think so . We still ignore many facts about the space .Maybe it will happen in the next centuries .

Submitted by Aroooma on Sun, 24/01/2021 - 01:09

Maybe..we are in the new generation and we see every thing around us are changes and develops.I Think anything that we see impossible become reality in one day .
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Submitted by Behnoush1989 on Wed, 20/01/2021 - 18:32

I think it depends on the developing knowlede and technology. In fact, if human could extend his astronomical knowledge in order to reach so high level of technology, it is possible to live in Mars. Otherwise, it will be just a dream.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Wed, 20/01/2021 - 15:53

I don't know, but perhaps we will have some answer by a new space mission NASA, which has launched a rocket Atlas 5 the thirtieh of July 2020 from Cape Canaveral. This rocket carries "Perseverance", the fifth Nasa rover, that will looks for tracks of life on the planet.

Submitted by nicofranck4 on Mon, 18/01/2021 - 21:36

Putting science fiction away, I think it will be quite possible in the future. It has been part of our space projects for so long. We are collecting more data about the local environment through high-tech measuring devices and in the next years, we will get our first rock samples. With all that info, it will be a matter if time to send off the first astronauts to explore it.

Submitted by nancyvirginiare on Tue, 12/01/2021 - 20:29

Yes. Technology advances fast. I just read a new about Tesla owner who sold his properties to dedicate to explore Mars.

Submitted by marlio96 on Fri, 08/01/2021 - 02:19

yes, of course, and I think this future is not so far, probably our children will have the opportunity to live on Mars, I hope to see the first man to step on the mars surface before I die.