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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.


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 …



Language level

Intermediate: B1


Well, I guess we may live there someday, but not in the near future. We have to keep our planet safe and liveable instead of trying to find ways to move on another one!

Good listening, I like the scientific conversations too much.

I'm not sure about ıt but ı don't think that human life will be enough to see this

I think that it won't happen soon and I can exactly say that in the beginning flews to the Mars will be very expensive and accessible only for rich people (and also brave). I wish Elon Mask good luck!

I think that in current conditions it is practically impossible. However, if equipment is developed to adapt the human body temperature on Tuesday, which is much colder than the earth, and other conditions, it could one day be possible.

I don't really think we could do that one day...except if we really change our way of living and adapt it to Mars characteristics.

I dont really think we could live one day in Mars, mainly due to the temperature conditions. Minus 55 degrees is too cold, our body is not ready to bear that kind of conditions. Therefore, we should care about our planet much more than we are doing if we want to preserve our existence.

I believe that's possibly

I do not sure about this but I would like to see Mars.

No I don't think because its characteristics are not suitable for human beings to live