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Session 4

Have you ever read a science-fiction story about a future world? In this session you'll read about a project that uses science-fiction writing as a way to create hope for the future. You'll also be able to learn some interesting vocabulary about space exploration in News Report.

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Activity 2

News Report

Comets

The night sky has fascinated humans for years. Maybe you've looked up and seen a comet - sometimes called a shooting star - yourself. But you probably didn't use a telescope like this one. Maybe you even saw it with the naked eye?

Listen to News Report to find out more about this story and learn some related vocabulary. Write down any new words as you listen and check them with the transcript and vocabulary list to boost your English!

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History was made in November 2014 when a probe was landed on a comet in deep space. The probe, called Philae, was launched 10 years earlier and travelled 6.5 billion kilometres to its rendezvous.

Although the landing didn't go entirely to plan, a huge amount of important data was sent back to Earth from the comet.

This data is studied by scientists to help us understand more about our own planet. Impacts from comets were very important to the evolution of the Earth and it is believed by some that they may have even brought water and life here.

It is thought that comets are made from material left over from when the outer planets in our solar system were formed. Another theory is that many may have come from outside our solar system.

These huge balls of frozen gasses, rock and dust with their distinctive 'tails' have fascinated humans ever since we started looking up into the night sky.

The most well-known is perhaps Halley's Comet. It can be seen with the naked eye and is visible from Earth every 75 to 76 years. It was first recorded in 240BC and since then its appearance has been described regularly throughout history.

In 1066 it was drawn as a fiery star in the Bayeux Tapestry. It was first photographed in 1910 and in that year it was so close that the Earth actually passed through its tail. 

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You can download News Report from our Unit 22 downloads page (size: 2.83MB).

Vocabulary

a probe
a device which collects information

rendezvous
meeting

didn't go entirely to plan
went a little bit wrong

data
information

impacts
hits, collisions

our solar system
our sun and the planets that go around it

formed
made

distinctive
easy to recognise

fascinated
been of great interest to

with the naked eye
seeing something clearly without using equipment such as telescopes

is visible
can be seen

Bayeux Tapestry
a famous decorated cloth showing scenes from English history in the 11th Century

End of Session 4

And so we end our space exploration and adventure in science-fiction stories. We hope you enjoyed reading the article about a hopeful science-fiction future and listening to the amazing story of comets and space probes. Join us in the next session for the second episode of our new drama, Alice in Wonderland. You'll also have a chance to test your knowledge with our weekly quiz!

Session Vocabulary

  • a probe
    a device which is used to collect information

    rendezvous
    meeting

    didn't go entirely to plan
    went a little bit wrong

    data
    information

    impacts
    hits, collisions

    our solar system
    our sun and the planets that go around it

    formed
    made

    distinctive
    easy to recognise

    fascinated
    been of great interest to

    with the naked eye
    without needing to use equipment such as telescopes

    is visible
    can be seen

    Bayeux Tapestry
    a famous decorated cloth showing scenes from English history in the 11th Century