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.

Transcript

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

Submitted by Anderson de Azevedo on Sat, 04/05/2019 - 10:16

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I believe that the human will live on Mars, when it is will be economically interesting for bigger companies in the Earth.

Submitted by mehrazin on Fri, 03/05/2019 - 17:36

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Hello dear, the British Council team One of the requirements for traveling to Mars is access to highly equipped rockets to protect passengers from radiation that is very harmful to their bodies. I think people will live on Mars on the future, but in different physical capacities or situations. Mars is very different from Earth. carbon dioxide is much larger than Earth. the weather degrees are in -55 degrees, so its waters are frozen because its farther from the sun. there isn't any suitable air in it so it's so hard to live in. It is very difficult to reach the mars because there are much more ion rays around it. It may be possible for people to live on it in future but not for us . Different people in different physical systems. Best Wishes Mehrzain

Submitted by Ghali on Thu, 02/05/2019 - 00:54

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definitlly .I dont think that..

Submitted by cadu on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 20:34

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Of course. Actually we have the technology to support life there. We have the issue of develop travel whit ships that could be reused, because that is important in terms of the mission costs. Ironically we find the way for support the life in Mars but don’t in earth when the use of natural resources exceed the capacity of regeneration

Submitted by pizzy78 on Mon, 29/04/2019 - 11:53

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"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." I'd like to understand the meaning of this part of the discussion. It says that on both planets the days are almost the same length first, but there's a big difference at the end of the sentence.
Hello pizzy78 'half an hour longer' means 24 hours plus half an hour. So the day on Mars is approximately 24 hours and 30 minutes. Compared to Earth, that's a difference of about 30 minutes, which Student 2 considers to be similar enough to say that their days are almost the same length. Does that make sense? All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Irshma Butt on Mon, 29/04/2019 - 07:08

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yes, i think people will live on Mars one day, as population on Earth increase day by day so one day there is no space for building new houses so eventually people will shift on Mars.

Submitted by Faitouri on Sun, 28/04/2019 - 07:24

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I suppose that we can not live on Mars .it is for me just scientific fiction.

Submitted by parisaach on Sat, 27/04/2019 - 05:31

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Maybe in future people going to live in Mars but technicaly it is difficult to talk about it right now . Anyway I never going to live in Mars because I can't tolerate cold weather

Submitted by Trần Hồng Phúc on Fri, 26/04/2019 - 10:20

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I don't think the human can live on Mars, cause air and weather are too difference.

Submitted by akkg2000 on Thu, 25/04/2019 - 05:30

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Be comfortable mars, for living on you we should be a superluxury man, nowadays I prefer to think about green earth.

Submitted by David on Wed, 24/04/2019 - 09:14

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I think it would be possible people will live on Mars one day.That day would be a day there are no any places on Earth for living!! Who are agree or disagree with this comment?Please share your opinion.

Submitted by Melyndra sp. on Wed, 24/04/2019 - 01:13

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I don't understand, why is "is 50 per cent smaller" in Mars?
Hello Melyndra sp. The text says that Mars 'is about half the size of Earth', so it is 50% smaller than Earth. ~ Peter The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nikoslado on Thu, 18/04/2019 - 20:01

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...How can I think something about it , whereas the special scientists know nothing or they are rather negative with this alternative prospect?....

Submitted by Leo123 on Thu, 18/04/2019 - 08:49

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Maybe in the long-term? In my opinion, this is possible even in the near future, but would need so much money that it is not sensible.

Submitted by adavenosa on Wed, 17/04/2019 - 20:28

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In my opinion it isn't possible people will live on Mars one day!

Submitted by miyujp on Tue, 16/04/2019 - 09:32

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I think it's hard for human to live in Mars someday because there are more carbon dioxide than Earth.

Submitted by MikeToledo on Mon, 15/04/2019 - 23:55

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I don't have idea about it, but I think with technology and researches we can live there soon.
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