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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.

Transcripts

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 …

Discussion

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Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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

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...

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

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