Listening

Warm Up

Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

  1. an asteroid
    • ex. It’s a sci-fi movie about a family that lives on an asteroid.
  2. an estimate
    • ex. We thought about 25 people might come, and our estimate was correct.
  3. a solar system
    • ex. My daughter wants to be the first person to leave our solar system.
  4. a planet
    • ex. Saturn is my favorite planet. Its rings are so beautiful.
  5. a spacecraft
    • ex. Several airplane manufacturers have started to create their own spacecraft designs.

Article

Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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NASA scientists have announced that the chance of an asteroid hitting Earth is higher than their original estimate. Bennu is one of the most dangerous known asteroids in our solar system, and according to NASA, the chance of it hitting Earth by the year 2300 is now 1 in 1,750.

Bennu will next come close to Earth in 2135, but the scientists say it won’t hit the planet then. They explained that the most dangerous time will be in 2182. However, the scientists say that people shouldn’t be worried because there’s still a 99.94% chance that it won’t hit Earth.

NASA has been studying Bennu with its OSIRIS-REx mission. The small spacecraft arrived at the asteroid in December 2019 and left it in May of this year. OSIRIS-REx is still traveling back to Earth, but it has been sending data about Bennu to NASA throughout its mission. The scientists are looking forward to studying a sample of the asteroid when OSIRIS-REx returns to Earth in September 2023.

Discussion

Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.

Dangers to Earth

  • There's a 99.94% chance that Bennu will NOT hit the Earth. Do you agree that people should NOT be worried? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Scientists say that the most dangerous time will be in 2182, but we won't be alive at that time. Do you think it's important to care about the future of the Earth even if it doesn’t affect us? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What do you think is the biggest danger to Earth right now (ex. climate change, Covid-19)? Why? Discuss.

Space Missions

  • In recent years, private companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have begun to do space missions. Do you think this is good? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Compared to the 1950s-1980s, many people today seem unexcited about space missions. What do you think is the reason for this? Discuss.
  • Do you think NASA should share all the data from its space missions with the public? Why or why not? Discuss.