I. Read the following text and say what geology deals with

НазваниеI. Read the following text and say what geology deals with
Дата конвертации13.02.2013
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Part II

Based on orbital observations and the examination of the Martian meteorite collection, the surface of Mars appears to be composed primarily of basalt. Some evidence suggests that a portion of the Martian surface is more silica-rich than typical basalt, and may be similar to andesitic stones on Earth; however, these observations may also be explained by silica glass. Much of the surface is deeply covered by a fine iron(III) oxide dust that has the consistency of talcum powder.

Mars lost its magnetosphere 4 billion years ago, so the solar wind interacts directly with the Martian ionosphere, keeping the atmosphere thinner than it would otherwise be by stripping away atoms from the outer layer. The atmosphere of Mars consists of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and contains traces of oxygen and water. During a pole's winter, it lies in continuous darkness, chilling the surface and causing 25–30% of the atmosphere to condense out into thick slabs of CO2 ice (dry ice). When the poles are again exposed to sunlight, the frozen CO2 sublimes, creating enormous winds that sweep off the poles as fast as 400 km/h. These seasonal actions transport large amounts of dust and water vapor, giving rise to Earth-like frost and large clouds.

Of all the planets, Mars's seasons are the most Earth-like. However, the lengths of the Martian seasons are about twice those of Earth's, as Mars’ greater distance from the Sun leads to the Martian year being about two Earth years in length. Martian surface temperatures vary from lows of about −140 °C (-220 °F) during the polar winters to highs of up to 20 °C (68 °F) in summers. The wide range in temperatures is due to the thin atmosphere which cannot store much solar heat, the low atmospheric pressure, and the low thermal inertia of Martian soil.

Mars is also nearly, or perhaps totally, geologically dead; the end of volcanic activity has stopped the recycling of chemicals and minerals between the surface and interior of the planet. Evidence suggests that the planet was once significantly more habitable than it is today, but whether living organisms ever existed there is still unclear. Dozens of spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been sent to Mars by the Soviet Union, the United States, Europe, and Japan to study the planet's surface, climate, and geology. Roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars have failed in one manner or another before completing or even beginning their missions. While this high failure rate can be ascribed to technical problems, enough have either failed or lost communications for unknown causes. Some popular explanations include an Earth-Mars "Bermuda Triangle", a Mars Curse, or even the long-standing NASA in-joke, the "Great Galactic Ghoul" that feeds on Martian spacecraft.

VIII. How many phrases starting with the word ‘Martian’ can you think of? Write them down.

e.g. Martian spacecraft

IX. How are the following words and phrases connected with Mars?

the Roman god of war, the solar system, the moon, carbon dioxide, dry ice, ice caps, spacecrafts, ‘Bermuda Triangle’

X. Compare the two planets - Earth and Mars. Which of the following aspects are similar (S) and which are different (D)?

geographical features





one year

average temperatures

volcanic activity

structure of the planet

life conditions

geological history



terrestrial character

XI. Do the quiz. Are these statements true (T) or false (F)?

What Do You Know about Mars?

  1. There are water and energy sources on Mars.

  2. For life to exist, it must have water. However, this water could be in liquid, frozen, or gas form.

  3. Mars is about the same size as Earth.

  4. The temperature on Mars is higher than it is on Earth.

  5. The atmosphere of Mars is made up mostly of carbon dioxide.

  6. A day on Mars is much longer than a day on Earth.

  7. A meteorite from Mars hit the Earth in the Stone Age.

  8. Mars is called the ‘Red Planet’ because it is boiling hot.

  9. Scientists have photographs of the Martian landscape.

  10. There are fierce dust storms on Mars.

  11. The gravity on Mars is so strong that it would be impossible for a human being to walk there.

  12. Unmanned equipment has already landed on Mars.

  13. Primitive life forms, such as bacteria, probably exist on Mars.

  14. In the 1970s, the US sent a spacecraft to search for life on Mars.

  15. If we managed to get people to Mars, they could make building materials from the Martian soil.

  16. The US agency that sends spacecraft to Mars is called NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).


Ratings: 16 -14: You are a Mars expert.

9 -13: You know a lot about Mars.

below 9: You have more to learn about Mars.

XII. Translate into English.

планета Солнечной системы, красноватый оттенок поверхности, оксид железа(III), планета земной группы, марсоход, собранные миссиями данные, водные ресурсы, естественный спутник: неправильная форма, марсианская атмосфера, полярная шапка, жидкая вода, атмосфера состоит из углекислого газа, водяной пар, геологическая активность, пылевые бури, внутреннее строение, спутники Марса, успешно завершенные миссии, самый большой известный каньон в Солнечной системе, популярное объяснение, вулканическая активность, солнечное тепло, сухой лед, поверхность планеты, геологическая история, вулканическая долина, затопление, коллекция марсианских метеоритов, полярный день и полярная ночь, атмосферное давление, почва Марса, годный для жизни.

XIII. Is life on Mars possible? Answer the question using the following phrases.

I hope…

I’m (not) sure…

I doubt…

I have some (no) doubts..

I tend to think …

I don’t believe…

I’m (not) convinced that…

I’m absolutely certain that…

In my opinion / view…

It seems to me that…

Key to the quiz:

True: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16


3 (the diameter of Mars is about half that of the Earth)

4 (Mars is cold)

8 (Mars is called ‘the red planet’ because of its red appearance)

11 (gravity on Mars is only 38 % that of the Earth)

13 F (life on Mars hasn’t been found yet)

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