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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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

I don't think so

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