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 (243 votes)

Submitted by ddddsky on Sun, 11/02/2024 - 04:46


"Do you think people will live on Mars one day?"
I'm not sure. I think it will be hard. Mars is so different from Earth. There must be many experiments and adjustments before humans can live there. Besides, I don't think humans want to abandon their lives and glory on Earth. It will work for something like a vacation, but I think living there will be difficult, and there will be a big war because we need to divide the country and choose the leader again.

Submitted by Khanh_ngkost on Thu, 08/02/2024 - 22:36


It seems to me that with the advances of technology , NASA has explored the signs of life not only on Mars but also on other planet having the same live condition like the Earth . Maybe in the near future , humans on Mars could conduct far better science than any machine

Submitted by vedatesk on Thu, 08/02/2024 - 22:23


Humans will take the war to another planet. That's why they should stay on Earth. Let the inhabitants of other planets in space live happily.

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Submitted by natinnatnat on Thu, 25/01/2024 - 20:01


I believe that in the future, humans will need to inhabit other planets such as Mars due to the increasing population on Earth.

Submitted by arnoldnana on Thu, 25/01/2024 - 09:52


I am not sure, for me the only place for human is Earth

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Submitted by alessandro.it on Wed, 24/01/2024 - 20:01


I think it will never be possible. First of all, there isn't liquid water that is essential for life, biologically speaking. Secondly, there isn't air that people need to breath to survive. Thirdly, it is too cold. In addition to that, gravity is too low for human beings: they would get ill after some time, for instance bones would get weak. Nevertheless, I suppose that in the future astronauts or robots will land on Mars to do some useful experiments for science and therefore the mankind.

Submitted by Emmett_River on Tue, 16/01/2024 - 13:46


I think that people will live on Mars one day, like about in the future of a hundred years. These days technologies in science are improving so quickly so we'll never know what could happen in the future, everything is possible to happen in no time.

Submitted by RoseNguyen on Tue, 09/01/2024 - 06:16


When I listen to this video. I always hear student 1 say such as "It set here it's about minus 55 degrees" instead of "It says here it's about minus 55 degrees"
Could you tell me how did student 1 pronounce it?

Hello RoseNguyen,

I hear 'It says here' (not 'It set here'). I wouldn't worry too much about this -- sometimes it's easier or harder to hear the sounds. With practice, I'm sure it will become clearer for you!

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team