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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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.

Submitted by GEORGINA on Mon, 27/01/2020 - 14:34

if it was possible to live in mars, i think that people will be already there

Submitted by Filiz on Thu, 23/01/2020 - 13:21

Maybe, while the population on our planet is increasing rapidly, natural resources on earth is decreasing. But similarly the technology and scientific resources are developing fastly. Now scienists have sent steliates to make new researches. Perhaps it is not possible for people to live in mars in near future,but most probably our grandchildren would be living in there.

Submitted by masoma123 on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 22:30

yes , I think because technology grow more day by day and make new things for comfort life and unfortunately the earth getting hot day by day and living here getting hard so we need find place for living . I think one day human can live on Mars.

Submitted by Chewlim on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 20:08

As far as I know, Mars only has one per cent air of earth's air, consists of carbon dioxygen, which is impossible for human beings to live in; not mention that all the water in Mars is frozen now, which is a necessity for people's life. So based on the lack of the two facts, it is so far not realistic for people to live in Mars unless the atmosphere would have changed.
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Submitted by walidel7 on Sun, 12/01/2020 - 17:27

In order to improve my skills in English especially in listen skill , I set plan for one month to improve my score from A2 to B1 , I hope I will capable to hear easily and can to do exercise in any website. Yes I can to achieve 6 score in IELTS exam and get opportunity for scholarship in Phd in pediatric nursing. Best wishes for all

Submitted by Bernice on Fri, 10/01/2020 - 15:56

Yes, I do actually. As we could see Mars gets the suitable environment for people to live on as it used to have water which could obviously sustain human's life. I believe that part of us will move up to there in the future when we invent the equipment that could send us to Mars safely. I would like to be one of that.(∩▽∩)