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Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute
English. I'm Neil.
Rob: And hello. I'm Rob.
Neil: So Rob, you are a man who enjoys
travel. What's the furthest journey you've
ever made?
Rob: Well, I have been to the other side of the
world. I've been to Australia, New Zealand
so from London that's a very long way.
Neil: And how was it?
Rob: Well, it was pretty boring really and quite
cramped on
the aeroplane – but I loved it when I got
Neil: So how would you feel about a journey
of 56 million kilometres that took around
nine months?
Rob: Right. I'd have to travel Business
Class, I think - lots of movies and
a very comfortable seat!
Neil: Well, that's how long it would take to get
to the planet Mars and this programme is all
about the women who want to be the first to
set foot on the red planet. First, though,
today's question, which is about the size
of Mars. Is it …
a) Bigger than Earth
b) About the same size as Earth, or
c) Smaller than Earth
Rob: I'm pretty sure I know this. It's bigger
than Earth, much bigger I think.
Neil: OK, well, we'll find out if you're right at
the end of the programme. It's been 40
years since NASA first recruited women
to be astronauts.
Today, a third of the people who work at
NASA are women.
Rob: Yes, and 2016 was the first year that
there were an equal number of women
and men joining as astronaut trainees.
Neil: Equality is slowly coming but only
men have had the opportunity to walk on
the moon, although that was over 45
years ago. Karen Nyberg is one of NASA's
current astronauts. In a recent BBC News
feature she talked about her hopes.
When did she join the astronaut
Karen Nyberg: When I was selected as an astronaut in
the year 2000 I thought that that might be
a realistic possibility, that we would be
the ones, the next to go to the Moon. So
it's unfortunate that we weren't.
Neil: When did she become an astronaut?
Rob: She said that she was selected in
2000. 'Selected' means chosen.
Neil: At that time, when she was selected,
she thought going to the moon would be
a realistic possibility. So she thought that
it wasn't just a dream, but something that
could happen. There was a good chance
it would happen.
Rob: However, she was disappointed
because that opportunity didn't arrive at
that time. She describes that as being
unfortunate. In this sense 'unfortunate'
means unlucky. If you use this adjective it
means you are disappointed about
something, but you do perhaps
understand the reason for it.
Neil: So far, a woman hasn't had the
opportunity to step on the moon. These
days Mars is the big target for space
travel. There are many problems to
overcome, but could it, should
it be a woman who is the first person to
take that step?
Rob: Absolutely, why not? On a mission to
Mars there would be need for many
different kinds of specialists. We tend to
think of astronauts as spaceship pilots,
but really I think they are much more like
scientists, carrying out different
Neil: If we are going to set up a base on Mars,
one thing that would be very important is
to try to find a way of growing food. For
that you need people with skills in those
areas. One person with those skills is
Gioia Massa, a Life Science project
manager for NASA. Now you would think
that being a top scientist she would be
brilliant at all areas or aspects of the job,
but she told BBC News that it wasn't
always the case. What two
aspects does she mention she wasn't
good at?
Gioia Massa: There certainly were aspects
where I was
challenged, you know. I wasn't as great in math
as some of my colleagues, my handwriting
is terrible. So there are things that are not
my strength. But then I fell in love with
plants and plants were my strength,
I really learned and focused on that.
Neil: So Rob, what did she have problems
Rob: Well, she said that she wasn't good
at math. 'Math' is a North American
English word for what in British English,
we call maths. Both words mean
mathematics, so 'math' in American
English, 'maths' in British English.
Neil: She also said that her handwriting is
Rob: Mind you, if her handwriting was
really terrible, maybe nobody would be
able to read her bad maths!
Neil: Good point! So handwriting and
maths aren't or weren't her strengths.
They are not what she is good at. What
are her strengths?
Rob: Well, the thing she is good at, her real
strengths are working with plants, so
that's what she concentrated on.
Neil: Right. Well, let's see if one of your
strengths is the knowledge of the planets.
Today's quiz question was: Is Mars…
a) Bigger than Earth
b) About the same size as Earth, or
c) Smaller than Earth
What did you say Rob?
Rob: I said that it was bigger, much bigger.
Neil: And the answer, I'm afraid to say, is that
Mars is smaller than Earth, much smaller
in fact.
Rob: Oh, well, I guess I won't be selected to
be an astronaut any time soon!
Neil: Before we blast off out of here, let's
review the vocabulary we covered today.
The first word was the one you just
mentioned, 'selected', meaning chosen.
Rob: Then we had the phrase, 'a realistic
possibility' to describe something that
has a good chance of happening, unlike
my astronaut application!
Neil: Well, if you did become an astronaut,
that would be unfortunate, our next word,
for me at least.
Rob: Unfortunate, you mean disappointing
for you?
Neil: Well, if you were up in space I
wouldn't have the pleasure of your
Rob: Hashtag blushing. Our next word
was 'aspects' meaning parts of
something and then the Americanisation,
Neil: Which we call maths, or
mathematics in British English.
And finally we had
'strengths'. And maths certainly isn't
one of my strengths – it's not something
I'm good at.
Rob: But one of your strengths is saying
nice things about people.
Neil: Hashtag double blush. Well, time for
us to go – not to Mars, but to lunch! Just
time to say you can also find us on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and
You Tube, and of course on our website
bbclearningenglish.com! Thank you
for joining us and goodbye!
Rob: Bye bye!
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Talk about women in space in 6 minutes

54 Folder Collection
gg875437 published on May 28, 2018
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