BEST IELTS General Reading Test 447

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 447

IELTS General Reading Test

REACHING THE STARS

A. Our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light years away from us – more than 200,000 times the distance from the planet Earth to the Sun. Such huge distances would seem to put the stars well beyond the reach of human explorers. Suppose we were able to ride aboard NASA’s Voyager 1, the fastest interstellar space probe build till date. Voyager 1 is now heading out of the solar system at about 17 Km/s. At this rate it would take 74,000 years for it to reach Proxima Centauri.

B. What would it take for humans to reach the stars within this lifetime? For a start, we would need a spacecraft that can travel as close as to speed of light. There has been plenty of proposals: vehicles propelled by repeated blasts, from hydrogen bombs, or from the destruction of matter. Others looks huge sailing ships with giant reflective sails, pushed along by powerful lasers. All of these ambitious schemes have their disadvantages, and it is doubtful they could really go such a vast distance.

IELTS General Reading Test

C. Now there are two radical possibilities on the table that might just enable us to reach the stars. One physicist has outlined his design for a spacecraft driven by dark matter, which is apparently extremely abundant. And two mathematicians have outlined a craft powered by an artificial black hole.

D. Everybody agrees that building a ship powered by black holes or dark matter would be extremely difficult. Yet, there seems to be nothing in our present understanding of physics to prevent us from doing so. Most astronomers are convinced about dark matter because of the way it’s gravity pulls on the stars and galaxies. Such observations prove that dark matter outweighs the universe’s visible matter by a factor of six. So a dark matter starship could pick up its fuel on its way and would therefore will not need to carry any.

IELTS General Reading Test

E. It is speculated that dark matter particles could be possibly made to collide, thus annihilating each other and converting their mass into energy. One kilogram of dark matter could release 10 billion times extra energy than 1 Kilo grain of dynamite. The matter could be collected and compressed, which would raise its annihilation rate, and the faster it travels, the faster it would scoop up its fuel and accelerate. It is thought that such a rocket might be able to come close to the speed of light within a some days.

F. Another possibility consists of the constructing a rocket using a black hole as fuel. Very small black holes emit massive radiation as compared to large, stellar-mass black holes, according to the equations describing black holes. A black hole weighing about a million tonnes would make a best energy source. It is small enough to generate powerful radiation to power a starship, yet large enough to survive without radiating all its mass during a typical stellar journey of about 100 years duration.

IELTS General Reading Test

G. One possibility is to look for a pre-existing black hole, but theories have been skeptical and prefer another proposal of making one. 20 cubic meters of tremendous energy is required to create a black hole. Solar energy would be collected in panels, orbiting the Sun and soaking up the sunlight. The resulting million-tonne black hole would be about the equivalent of an atomic nucleus. The next phase is to get it into the focal range of parabolic mirror attached to the back of the starship.

The Gamma ray photos would be the starship’s exhaust and push it forwards. A black hole starship could fly at the light speed in a few decades.

IELTS General Reading Test

Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings.

i.   More attractive plans for long-range space travel

ii.  An ideal dimension of a possible source of power

iii. Stars are far away to reach with current technology

iv.  Plentiful power supply in space

v.   unlikely suggestion for interstellar transport

vi.  process of ageing for space travellers

vii. risks of using dark matter as fuel source

viii.an artificial power source

ix.  energy and speed generated using dark matter

IELTS General Reading Test

29. Paragraph A –

30. Paragraph B –

31. Paragraph C –

32. Paragraph D –

33. Paragraph E –

34. Paragraph F –

35. Paragraph G –

IELTS General Reading Test

Which TWO proposals to power superships might allow humans to travel to the stars ?

A. hydrogen bombs

B. laser-driven sails

C. black holes

D. dark matter

E. solar energy

IELTS General Reading Test

Choose NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage.

One theory suggests a collision of dark matter (38) …………………………., which would be mutually destroyed, thus resulting in a physical transformation into (39)…………………………. Such a process would be capable of producing massive force than using a conventional explosive. Acquisition and compression of the matter would increase its (40)…………………………. rate, and the vehicle might approach light speed in a short interval.

IELTS General Reading Test

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BEST IELTS General Reading Test 447

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IELTS General Reading Test

29. III

30. V

31. I

32. IV

33. IX

34. II

35. VIII

36. C/D

37. C/D

38. PARTICLES

39. ENERGY

40. ANNIHILATION

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