Listening Topic: Space Science – On-the-street survey about space exploration

A. Listen to an on-the-street survey about space exploration. As you listen, check the three main topics that are discussed. (All the topics are mentioned.)

___ a   The first moon landing

___ Benefits of ocean exploration

___ c   Concern about cost

___ Benefits of the space program

___ e   History of the space program

B. Read the questions below. Then listen to the survey again. Choose the correct answer to complete each item. Listen again if necessary.

 Instead of sending astronauts into space, one man suggests ____.

      a   sending animals

      b   sending robots

 One man thinks our first priority before spending money on space exploration should be to ____.

      a   help the unemployed and the homeless

      b   explore the ocean

 Bar codes, smoke detectors, cordless power tools, and rescue cutters were all created ____.

      a   for space

      b   in space

 By studying Venus, scientists hope to find out more about ____.

      a   what causes global warming

      b   how to live on other planets



__ c.

__ d.

__ e.


1 b   2 a   3 a   4 a


A= Greg

B = Interviewee 1

C = Interviewee 2

D = Interviewee 3

E = Interviewee 4

A:   This is Greg Morgan from WSUR. If you’ve been following our focus program this week you know we’ve been taking a look at the space program starting with its history, the impact of the cold war on the race for space, the indirect benefits from technology, and of course the questions of safety. Today, the question we’re asking is about money: The space program is obviously expensive. Is it worth the money our government spends on it? Or should that money be spent elsewhere? We went downtown to ask some local people for their opinions on the space program.

A:   Hello there. We’re trying to find out how the local population feels about the space program. Would you mind answering some questions?

B:   No, I’d be glad to. I think space exploration is important, especially if we want to keep our place in history. But, you know, with all the problems and accidents lately, uh, I think we should stop sending people into space.

A:   So, are you saying we should shut down the space program?

B:   No, actually I have a better idea. I think for now we should just conduct robotic missions-I mean, send robots into space, like the robot they sent up to Mars a few years ago. A mission like that may not capture the public attention the way the shuttle flights with astronauts do, but they’re faster and cheaper. In some ways, the robots can do more than humans, like going into areas that we wouldn’t dare send astronauts. Plus robots can operate for long periods of time-without food and water. It’s more cost-effective.

A:   It would still be expensive, wouldn’t it?

B:   Well, yeah. It’s not going to be cheap – probably billions, but from what I’ve read we’re only spending a small chunk of the national budget on exploring space.

A:   I think it’s about 1 ¾ currently.

B:   See. That’s… that’s nothing. So, yeah I support the program.

A:   Thank you.

A:   Hello, sir. Would you mind telling our local listeners what you think about the space program?

C:   Yeah, OK. What about it?

A:   Well, for example, do you think the space program is worth the expense?

C:   Well, in general I have to say I think there are a lot of more pressing needs here on earth we need to tend to first-like finding jobs for the unemployed, helping the homeless. I mean, how do you explain to someone sleeping on a park bench in winter that we’re spending tons of money to send a couple of folks into outer space but we can’t provide shelter for everyone who needs it?!!

A:   Good point.

C:   It’s kind of obvious, if you ask me. I need to get going though.

A:   Sure. Thank you for your time.

A:   Hello, could I ask you what you think about the space program? Do you think it’s worthwhile?

D:   Yes, I do. I know a lot of people are of the opinion that it’s a waste of money, because well, it seems pointless. Some think that astronauts just go up and float around in the space station, do some experiments and then come back home. But, you know there are many benefits to space exploration that people aren’t even aware of. Just consider all the things that were made in space for example.

A:   You mean things made for space, like space blankets and freeze-dried food. Stuff like that?

D:   No, no, not for space – products made only in space, uh, like crystals – they can make perfect crystals in space. And they’re also making some alloys – blends of metals that we can’t combine on earth.

A:   That’s interesting. I must say that I wasn’t aware of that.

D:   Oh, I’ve always been fascinated with space. I like to check out the Websites for the latest news – watch the launches and so on.

A:   OK. Thanks for talking with us.

A:   Hello, Miss. Would you mind telling our listeners whether you think the space program is worthwhile?

E:   Why, yes of course. I’m a science teacher and I think it’s very important for many reasons. For example, you probably know we’re going to Venus. Scientists are hoping to find some clues as to what caused severe global warming on Venus and help prevent the same thing from happening here on earth. Another reason I support space exploration is because of the exciting opportunities it opens up for global cooperation to develop new infrastructures.

A:   Something I hadn’t thought of – you mean like some kind of international government agencies and police?

E:   Yes, it’ll take a lot of careful thought and collaboration, but it’s exciting, don’t you think? Beyond that, there’s just the fact that the space program has also led to the invention of many important products. Many things you and I use every day were created for use in space. Take bar codes, for example. They were designed to keep track of the millions of parts that make up a spacecraft. Now we use them not only to ring up costs at the counter but to keep track of inventory as well.

A:   I never knew bar codes came from the space program.

E:   Yes, and there’s more: smoke detectors, cordless tools, joy stick controllers, the monitoring systems used in the intensive care units, and even those rescue cutters they use to cut through cars to extract people who have been in serious car accidents – they’re powered by miniature versions of technology that’s used to separate things on the space shuttle.

A:   Fascinating. Thanks for sharing that with us.

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