BEST IELTS General Reading Test 470

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 470

IELTS General Reading Test

MISSION TO MARS

SpaceX, a cutting edge rocket technology company recently managed to successfully land one of its rocket’s spent boosters, achieving a monumental milestone in the quest for reusable rockets. A few minutes into a Falcon 9 rocket launch (built and designed by SpaceX), the boosters separated from the rest of the rocket as usual as thousands before have done, but on this occasion it flipped over and reignited auxiliary engines to slow and guide it to a nearby launch pad where it landed safely and successfully.

A. NASA, landed men on the moon in the late 1960s, and has been sending exploratory satellites and robotic probes since that time too, and now it plans to send astronauts to the red planet sometime in the 2030s, but then only to orbit the planet. The ultimate goal of actually landing a spacecraft with confidence / success is the extremely dangerous and tricky feat to achieve some decades after that.

IELTS General Reading Test

B. Thus, NASA is now working with companies such as SpaceX and other private enterprises on projects such as a ‘Mission to Mars’ to develop the technology and expertise to consistently overcome such challenges that SpaceX recently triumphed at, and numerous other challenges too.

C. Problems to face are not only technical in nature, they are physiological too, for instance the very real and well-known issue of weightlessness will need to be addressed. Hollywood conveys the fun of weightlessness, however the reality is that it makes astronauts sick and weak as their bones waste away in zero gravity and also vision impairment occurs as fluid collects in the brain and presses on the eyeballs.

IELTS General Reading Test

D. The natural environment throws up further considerations too as radiation is a constant hazard, and in particular a long journey in space exposes the crew to potentially high doses of radiation through solar flares and cosmic rays. On moon missions and orbiting the earth this is not something to be concerned about as the earth’s magnetic field essentially protects us from most of this. Feeding the crew and keeping them hydrated are further complications on top of this.

E. Mars at its closest is 34 million miles away – which is approximately 140 times farther than the moon, thus to send a space mission there requires a radically upgraded spacecraft that would house them comfortably for months on end. It is projected that a three-piece space ship would be required according to conceptual designers, one that can both provide the power to get there, the shields from radiation and the supplies needed.

IELTS General Reading Test

F. It is proposed that firstly a crew vehicle would transport the crew to an earth orbit where they would rendezvous with a habitat module. These two would be attached together to make the arduous journey through deep space to Mars. Upon reaching Mars, the crew would transfer to the ‘Mars Descent’ vehicle, which would already have been sent ahead, to make the final descent to the surface of the planet.

G. Getting there requires a lot of fuel, and getting back just might require the making of chemical fuel and the oxygen to burn it, on Mars itself. Chemical fuels though are comparatively bulky and inefficient; therefore nuclear power and solar power are mentioned as serious and viable alternatives to this. Safety concerns regarding the installing of a nuclear reactor on a spaceship is the disadvantage that weighs against its huge positive which is that it creates enormous power efficiently. Solar power is considered to be relatively weak in comparison but it is reliable and may be more suited to the slower moving of cargo ships over longer distances.

IELTS General Reading Test

H. Living in space for a lengthy period of time is quite a problematic scenario as it is estimated to be a 6- year trip away from home that includes the journey out, orbiting, time on the planet’s surface and then the long haul back; however there are four considerations that NASA and other scientists are engaging themselves in with various research projects to prepare for this.

I. First of all, is the consideration of morale, whereby having enough space and good food to keep all on board comfortable and positive for the entire operation is strongly desirable. Crops from ‘green walls’ for example could supplement a space-food diet. Protection from the unavoidable hazard of radiation is essential and one proposition on the drawing-board current is utilising water-filled walls to shield the astronauts. Another consideration is repairs, as critical systems including air and water recycling will be core systems to maintain. Finally, exercise is considered critical to both mental and physical health, so plenty of vigorous workouts will somehow have to be devised.

IELTS General Reading Test

Label the paragraphs.

28. Close collaboration with similarly focused institutes and organisations

29. Misleading movie industry conceptions ignore the very real physical demands on the crew.

30. The multitude of hazards that an extended period of time away from Earth throws up.

31. The pros and cons regarding the propulsion systems under consideration.

32. The longer term aim would be to possibly land with confidence on Mars in the middle to late 21st Century.

33. The worries concerning scientists of the mission to Mars are providing enough water and sufficient food, plus losing Earth’s natural defences against radioactive particles.

34. A complicated and complex three step procedure to get there.

35. The vastly greater distance requires a greatly improved vehicle providing the protection and the adequate materials to sustain the project.

IELTS General Reading Test

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 36–40 on your answer sheet write:

TRUE – if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE – if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN – if there is no information on this

36. The Falcon 9 rocket itself went on to complete a hugely successful mission.

37. It is predicted that by the 2030s the latest wave of space explorers will be touching down on Mars.

38. NASA and SpaceX are solely focusing on the ‘Mission to Mars’ project.

39. Weightlessness concerns related to lengthy periods of time in space are due to the gravitational field being half that of on Earth.

40. The exposure to possible large amounts of radiation on the space flights is a routine fear.

IELTS General Reading Test

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IELTS General Reading Test

28. B

29. C

30. H

31. G

32. A

33. D

34. F

35. E

36. NOT GIVEN

37. FALSE

38. FALSE

39. FALSE

40. TRUE

IELTS General Reading Test

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