Watch and Listen
1. Watch the video. Complete the sentences with a number or word from the box. Then compare your answers with a partner.
11 17 1977 2012 space years
1 Voyager began its journey in _________.
2 Almost 40 _________ later, Voyager still communicates with a dish.
3 It communicates with this dish over _________ billion miles away.
4 Voyager’s message takes more than _________ hours to get to Earth.
5 The little green triangle shows Voyager in deep _________.
6 In _________, Voyager left our solar system.
2. Read the questions and circle the correct answer. Watch again and check your answers.
1 Where does NASA communicate with Voyager from?
a The Mojave Desert in California
b Kennedy Space Station in Texas
2 Who is the scientist for the Voyager project?
a Dr Edmund Halley
b Dr Edward Stone
3 What planets did Voyager fly by?
a Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury
b Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune
4 How fast does a message travel from Voyager to the dish?
a at the speed of light
b at the speed of sound
5 Where did Voyager 1 become the first man-made object to ever travel to?
a outside the solar system
b inside the solar system
3. Answer the questions.
1 What was Voyager’s goal when it flew by the planets?
2 Did the Voyager team know how long Voyager could survive?
3 What is NASA learning from Voyager?
1 1977 2 years 3 11 4 17 5 space 6 2012
1 a 2 b 3 b 4 a 5 a
1 to send back information to Earth 2 no 3 new things
Empire of the sun
Narrator: Here is the Mojave Desert in California, NASA, America’s space agency, communicates with the spacecraft Voyager. Project scientist Dr Edward Stone became part of the Voyager team before it began its journey in 1977. Voyager’s goal was to fly by the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and to send back information to the Earth.
Dr. Edward Stone: None of us knew how long the spacecraft could survive. When I started on the Voyager, my two daughters were young and by the and of course, by the time they were in university, we were already, er, past Saturn. We were on our way to Uranus, they got married. The Voyager just kept going. We had grandchildren and Voyager just kept going and so now our grandchildren are aware of what’s happening to Voyager, just like our children were.
Narrator: And what’s really amazing is that we’re still learning new things from Voyager. Almost 40 years later, Voyager still communicates with this dish over 11 billion miles away. Its message travels at the speed of light, but it still takes more than 17 hours to get here. This little green triangle shows Voyager in deep space. It is a message from the spacecraft. In 2012, Voyager 1 left our solar system and became the first man-made object ever to travel outside the empire of the sun.
1. Listen to the first part of the radio programme. Complete the sentences with the words you hear.
1 We’ll think about the planets people haven’t visited yet and __________ we are likely to visit some of them in the future.
2 Let’s begin inside our own solar system, which is made up of all the planets and the __________.
3 Mars is known as the ‘__________ Planet’ because of its colour.
4 NASA, the US government organization that studies space, so far has only __________ robot explorers to Mars.
5 Even with the danger, many people want __________ travel to Mars.
2. Listen to the second part of the radio programme. Complete the student’s outline.
1 NASA plans to send people to asteroid
A Send to asteroid by 1_________; asteroid = very large rock goes around 2_________
1 Robot reaches asteroid and takes a large 3_________
2 Robot sends it on a path around 4_________
3 People 5_________ asteroid piece in 2020s; travel on Orion spacecraft
B Other uses for Orion
1 No travel to Mars
2 6_________ new spacecraft
2 Lucy – BPM 37093
A 7_________ star = white dwarf star
1 Doesn’t burn, shines with 8_________
2 Huge diamond
3 It is 9_________ our solar system
B Facts about Lucy
1 About 10_________ kilometres across
2 Smaller than Earth – half as wide
3 Hot, with temperature of about 2,700 °C
4 Only half as 11_________ as our sun
3. Write T (true) or F (false) next to the statements below. Then correct the false statements?
___ 1 NASA plans to have robots take a boulder from an asteroid and send it around the moon
___ 2 White dwarf stars are found in our solar system.
___ 3 Lucy is larger than Earth.
___ 4 Lucy is bigger than all of the diamonds found on Earth.
___ 5 A human trip to Mars is planned for the 2020s.
4. Listen to the second part of the programme again. Write down one more piece of information about NASA’s plans for Mars exploration and one more piece of information about the dwarf star Lucy.
1 whether 2 sun 3 Red 4 sent 5 to
1 2025 2 the sun 3 boulder (from its surface)
4 the moon 5 explore 6 (help) Test 7 A dead
8 heat 9 outside 10 4,000 11 hot
1 T 2 F; Dwarf stars are not found in our solar system.
3 F; Lucy is smaller than Earth. 4 T
5 F; It’s planned for the 2030s.
Answers will vary. Possible answers:
1 Orion won’t be able to land on Mars. Orion will help give NASA information to safely send people to Mars.
2 A white dwarf star is what is left when a star uses all its energy. Scientists call Lucy a cold star even though it burns at 2,700 degrees Celsius, because it’s only half as hot as our sun.
Host: In this episode of Astronomy Today, we are looking at space travel and the journeys that people hope to make beyond the moon. We’ll think about the planets people haven’t visited yet and whether we are likely to visit some of them in the future. Let’s begin inside our own solar system, which is made up of all the planets and the sun. Venus, Jupiter and Neptune are probably the first names that come to mind when you think of the solar system. But the planet scientists hope to visit next is Mars. Mars is known as the ‘Red Planet’ because of its colour. NASA, the US government organization that studies space, so far has only sent robot explorers to Mars. But they are working to send humans to Mars and want to reach Mars by the 2030s. Even with the danger, many people want to travel to Mars.
2 3 4
Host: NASA wants to send humans to an asteroid by 2025. An asteroid is like a very large rock that goes around the sun like the planets do. First, NASA wants to send a robot on a journey to reach the asteroid and take a large boulder from its surface. Once the robot takes the large boulder from the asteroid, the robot will set the boulder on a path around the moon. After that, NASA wants to send people to explore this asteroid piece in the 2020s. They plan a journey to the boulder in a spacecraft named Orion. Orion won’t be able to land on the surface of Mars, but it will travel to the asteroid boulder to get information. Orion will also help test new spacecraft and give NASA information that it needs to safely send people to Mars.
Outside our solar system, there is a place even more surprising than Mars and many people would go there if we had the spacecraft to send them. Its scientific name is BPM 37093, but it is usually called Lucy. It is actually a dead star or a white dwarf star. It is what is left over when a star uses up all its energy. It doesn’t burn anymore, but it shines with heat. But the most surprising fact is that this dead star is a huge diamond. Scientists have always known about the diamond-like white dwarf stars, which are made by heat. They are all outside our own solar system, like Lucy.
Lucy is about 4,000 kilometres across, less than half as wide as Earth. Even though it is small, it weighs about as much as our sun. If Lucy were mined, there would be more diamonds found on it than all the diamonds on Earth through history. Even though it is a dead star, this dwarf star is hot. It has a temperature of about 2,700 degrees Celsius. But scientists call Lucy a cold star, because it is only half as hot as our sun. And while the trip to explore Mars is planned for the 2030s, scientists have not found a way to travel outside our own solar system yet. Perhaps one day.
1. Listen to the first part of the talk introducing the discussion. Complete the sentences.
1 We’ll begin today’s discussion with a look at how to pay for space ___________.
2 We’ll also evaluate the ___________ of space exploration and whether the money we spend is worth it. We will first look at the ___________ for paying for space exploration.
2. Listen to the second part of the discussion. What do you think the purpose of the discussion will be? Choose the most likely option.
1 to describe what space exploration is like
2 to think about options for paying for space exploration and the good and bad points of exploring space
3 to make a new plan for future space exploration and for humans living on other planets
3. Listen again. Complete the student’s notes.
Dr Jun Wu
Wants funding from 1__________
Space exploration is 2__________
Space explorations shows us how 3__________, what stars do, the effects on people in space
Wants funding from 4__________
Because companies get 5__________ from discoveries made in space exploration
Wants 6__________ money for exploration
Because 7__________ benefits from space exploration
Get funding from governments, private companies and private 8__________
People around the world giving money on 9__________
1 exploration 2 benefits; options
1 governments 2 important 3 space works
4 private companies 5 money
6 public/government and private
7 the world 8 individuals 9 the internet
Host: Hello, everyone. We’ll begin today’s discussion with a look at how to pay for space exploration. We’ll also evaluate the benefits of space exploration and whether the money we spend is worth it. We will first look at the options for paying for space exploration. I have three experts with me today: Dorota Loy, an engineer from the Space Development Project; Raj Padow, a researcher in economics; and Dr Jun Wu, who is a professor of astrophysics. Let me ask Dr Wu to start us off by giving us a little information about the impact of space exploration and the importance of spending money on it.
Host: Let me ask Dr Wu to start us off by giving us a little information about the impact of space exploration and the importance of spending money on it.
Jun: Thanks for having me. Well, to answer your question, space exploration is important because we do research and get information about many things. For example, as scientists explore space, we learn about biology and about physics, as well as space. So for me, the most important thing is that governments give enough money for future exploration.
Dorota: You have a point that space exploration is used for a lot of scientific study. But it is very expensive and there is less public money to pay for it nowadays. Is having the government pay really the only option for paying for space exploration?
Jun: I hear what you’re saying, Dorota. It isn’t cheap to run space programmes, but the money we spend is certainly worth it. Government and public money must be included. So far, space exploration has shown us many things about how space works, what stars do, the effects on people who stay in space for a long time and so on. We must continue to do this work so that we can explore places in space father away and …
Raj: Can I just say something here?
Host: Yes, Raj?
Raj: I agree 100 percent with Dr Wu that we need space exploration. But even he says it is very expensive. I know that we have to spend money to develop our space programmes and we need more money than governments have. So for me, an alternative would be to bring in thinkers from different industries to discuss different ways to pay. If we are exploring space, we could have private companies pay for it. For me, this is the main reason we …
Jun: But Raj, space exploration is so important. Governments must …
Raj: Sorry, Dr Wu, can I finish my point? If so much money is spent on space exploration, the most important thing should be finding money from places other than the government. It shouldn’t be just taxpayers paying for it. Private companies make lots of money from the discoveries made in space exploration, so they should pay for the costs.
Host: Dorota, you haven’t said mush so far. Any thoughts?
Dorota: Well, I personally don’t see a problem. Dr Wu has a good point about public government money and I feel exactly the same as Raj about private money. but we can do both of these things – public or government money, help us keep the people who know the most, like those at NASA, focused on the research and private money helps bring in other talent from companies that would also like to explore space, such as Virgin Galactic or SpaceX. Companies like these have already spent a lot of money on this important type of travel …
Jun: Yeah, – important space travel that governments should …
Dorota: Please allow me to finish. There are also other choices that neither of you have talked about yet. Space exploration benefits the world. What about money from private individuals? There are wealthy people around the world that might be interested in giving money for these projects. Also, with the internet, people from around the world could give money for these projects. Lots of people could make donations directly to their favourite projects. I think in the future we can get money for space exploration from more than one place. We should study these different ways and use the best solution.
Host: Dr Wu, Raj Padow, let’s get your thoughts on this. Do you agree with these ideas for paying for space exploration?
Jun: Yes … Dorota could be right. Space exploration needs money to come from many places, as long as the government is still a part of this important area of exploration.
Raj: And I think she might be right, too. But as I said, only if there is money from private companies, too.
Host: OK, so you have some agreement here then. Let’s go back to the benefits of space exploration and think about that a little more. So does anybody want to …
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