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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

I've been learning about this content (planets from the Solar System) and when I listened to this recording some minutes ago, this immediatelly reminded me the classes from Internet. It is interesting how I even imagined which planets can be a place for we live in a long future

Considering the fact that Mars doesn't really have air, I don't think people will live there one day.

i don't think so. we destroyed our planet, and now want to go to new planet and make it fit for living.

Well, as far as I know, Mars does not have the air as much as Earth and is only 1 % obtained when compared with the Earth. Whereas, I also wander how the future of university will go on because after many years, Mars will replace the location of the Earth. So, let's see how will be going on in the future. And I also wander how the technology of human will be developing in the future.

Oxygen and other energies must be provided for humans to live on Mars. therefore it looks difficult.

no comments.

Yes, I am pretty sure we would be on mars one day. Humans have been invested so much time, money, and energy into this project collectively. I want to see in my lifetime the evolution of humans and become a multi-planetary species.

It was said in the discussion that Mars´s got just one percent as much air as Earth. I don´t think that humans can survive there. And we should not go there and destroy it. What humans are doing to the Earth, is terrible enough.

As far as i am concerned I would appreciate to put my feet on mars wouldn't be to see Earth far away, my beautiful blue planet

I think somebody will be able to do it but I'm not. Today we have so much welfare on Earth but everibady has not. And this is not unjustice for me just the natural.

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