Listening Topic: Astronomy – Radio call-in program

A. Listen to a radio call-in show about the moon. Which topics below are discussed on the show?

1   The moon is not round. It is shaped like an egg.

2   The oldest rock from the moon is 4.5 billion years old.

3   Scientists are certain about how the moon was formed.

4   The moon’s seas are filled with lava, not water.

5   Twelve men have walked on the moon.

6   Astronauts have carried some unusual objects (for example, golf balls) to the moon



4 ✓   6


A = Host, B = Craig Doss, C = Danielle, D = Edward, E = Rita, F = Louis

A:   Hello and welcome to “Science Now.” We’re talking about the moon today, and our guest is Craig Doss, a scientist who spends his life considering the mysteries of the moon. Hello, Craig.

B:   Hi, thanks for having me on the show.

A:   Now Craig, this is a weekly call-in show where people can ask questions about our topic … and our expert – that’s you – will answer the questions. OK, are you ready?

B:   Yes.

A:   OK, let’s get started. Our first question comes from Danielle in New Jersey. Hi Danielle, what’s your question?

C:   Hi, I’m wondering about water on the moon. Is there actually water? I’ve heard about the seas on the moon, but are they really filled with water?

A:   Craig?

B:   That’s a good question. They are called seas, but they’re not filled with water. They’re actually filled with lava. The only water we know of is in ice at the poles of the moon.

C:   Oh, OK. Thank you.

A:   Our next caller is Edward from New Mexico. What’s your question, Edward?

D:   Hello, can you tell me if scientists know how the moon was formed?

B:   That’s an interesting one. There have been different theories on this. One theory is that the moon was actually part of Earth, but it broke off and became separate in early formation … Another idea is that the moon was an object out in space that was captured or pulled in by Earth’s gravity. In other words, that it came near enough to Earth and then couldn’t get away because of gravity. And then there is the theory that a huge rock crashed into Earth and knocked a large piece of it loose, and then this piece formed into the moon. It’s this last theory that most scientists prefer now, but we don’t really know for sure.

D:   Do you think scientists will ever know for sure?

B:   Hmm, good question. Maybe, maybe not.

A:   OK, our next caller is Rita from Missouri. Hi Ria.

E:   Hi, thanks for taking my call. Did research about the moon help scientists figure out how or why dinosaurs disappeared?

A:   Hmm, what can you tell us about that Craig?

B:   There actually is a connection. Scientists studied how craters on the moon might have been formed … how something might have crashed into the moon and made craters. This research was then used by other scientists … They came up with a theory that a huge rock crashing into Earth could have killed all the dinosaurs.

A:   So there is a connection. And it’s interesting because this is also an example of one of the benefits of studying the moon and sending astronauts there. That’s something that people sometimes question.

B:   Yes, that is true.

A:   OK, our last question is from Louis in Maryland. Hi Louis

F:   Hi. My question is more about astronauts on trips to the moon. I’ve heard that they’ve taken some unusual things into space. Is this true?

B:   Yes, it is. A lot of people don’t know about this, but astronauts have carried golf balls, and coins, and even tree seeds to space. They’ve carried a lot of other things as well. It started to get a little out of hand, though, so nowadays there are much tighter regulations. On shuttle missions, astronauts aren’t allowed to carry so many things. But in the early days there weren’t regulations and the astronauts carried things like the golf balls and coins.

F:   Wow, do you think it would help my gold game to use a ball that had been to the moon?

A:   It seems like there’s a fascination with objects that have been in space.

B:   Yes, there really is. People think there must be something special about these things. In fact, there were problems … some people sold some of the objects to make a profit afterwards, which is one reason the regulations have come about.

A:   OK, well thanks for your question, Louis. We’re going to take a quick break …

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