IELTS MASTER | ielts reading test 262

ielts reading test 262

The Exploration of Mars

A In 1877, Giovanni Schiaparelli, an Italian astronomer, made drawings and maps of the Martian surface that suggested strange features. The images from telescopes at this time were not as sharp as today’s. Schiaparelli said he could see a network of lines, or canali. In 1894, an American astronomer, Percival Lowell, made a series of observations of Mars from his own observations of Mars from his own observatory at Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. Lowell was convinced a great network of canals had been dug to irrigate crops for the Martian race! He suggested that each canal had fertile vegetation on either side, making them noticeable from Earth. Drawings and globes he made show a network of canals and oases all over the planet.

B The idea that there was intelligent life on Mars gained strength in the late 19th century. In 1898, H.G. Wells wrote a science fiction classic, The War of the Worlds about an invading force of Martians who try to conquer Earth. They use highly advanced technology (advanced for 1898) to crush human resistance in their path. In 1917, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the first in a series of 11 novels about Mars. Strange beings and rampaging Martian monsters gripped the public’s imagination. A radio broadcast by Orson Welles on Halloween night in 1938 of The War of the Worlds caused widespread panic across America. People ran into the streets in their pyjamas-millions believed the dramatic reports of a Martian invasion.

C Probes are very important to our understanding of other planets. Much of our recent knowledge comes from these robotic missions into space. The first images sent back from Mars came from Mariner 4 in July 1965. They showed a cratered and barren landscape, more like the surface of our moon than Earth. In 1969, Mariners 6 and 7 were launched and took 200 photographs of Mars’s southern hemisphere and pole on fly-by missions. But these showed little more information. In 1971, Mariner 9’s mission was to orbit the planet every 12 hours. In 1975, The USA sent two Viking probes to the planet, each with a lander and an orbiter. The Landers had sampler arms to scoop up Maritain rocks and did experiments to try and find signs of life. Although no life was found, they sent back the first colour pictures of the planet’s surface and atmosphere from pivoting cameras.

D The Martian meteorite found in Earth aroused doubts to the above analysis. ALH84001 meteorite was discovered in December 1984 in Antarctica, by members of the ANSMET project; The sample was ejected from Mars about 17 million years ago and spent 11,000 years in or on the Antarctic ice sheets. Composition analysis by NASA revealed a kind of magnetite that on Earth, is only found in association with certain microorganisms. Some structures resembling the mineralized casts of terrestrial bacteria and their appendages fibrils or by-products occur in the rims of carbonate globules and pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration regions. The size and shape of the objects is consistent with Earthly fossilized nanobacteria but the existence of nanobacteria itself is still controversial.

E In 1965, the Mariner 4 probe discovered that Mars had no global magnetic field that would protect the planet from potentially life-threatening cosmic radiation and solar radiation; observations made in the late 1990s by the Mars Global Surveyor confirmed this discovery. Scientists speculate that the lack of magnetic shielding helped the solar wind blow away much of Mars’s atmosphere over the course of several billion years. After mapping cosmic radiation levels at various depths on Mars, researchers have concluded that any life within the first several meters of the planet’s surface would be killed by lethal doses of cosmic radiation. In 2007, it was calculated that DNA and RNA damage by cosmic radiation would limit life on Mars to depths greater than 7.5 metres below the planet’s surface. Therefore, the best potential locations for discovering life on Mars may be at subsurface environments that have not been studied yet. Disappearance of the magnetic field may played an significant role in the process of Martian climate change. According to the valuation of the scientists, the climate of Mars gradually transits from warm and wet to cold and dry after magnetic field vanished.

F NASA’s recent missions have focused on another question: whether Mars held lakes or oceans of liquid water on its surface in the ancient past. Scientists have found hematite, a mineral that forms in the presence of water. Thus, the mission of the Mars Exploration Rovers of 2004 was not to look for present or past life, but for evidence of liquid water on the surface of Mars in the planet’s ancient past. Liquid water, necessary for Earth life and for metabolism as generally conducted by species on Earth, cannot exist on the surface of Mars under its present low atmospheric pressure and temperature, except at the lowest shaded elevations for short periods and liquid water does not appear at the surface itself. In March 2004, NASA announced that its rover Opportunity had discovered evidence that Mars was, in the ancient past, a wet planet. This had raised hopes that evidence of past life might be found on the planet today. ESA confirmed that the Mars Express orbiter had directly detected huge reserves of water ice at Mars’ south pole in January 2004.

G Researchers from the Center of Astrobiology (Spain) and the Catholic University of the North in Chile have found an ‘oasis’ of microorganisms two meters below the surface of the Atacama Desert, SOLID, a detector for signs of life which could be used in environments similar to subsoil on Mars. “We have named it a ‘microbial oasis’ because we found microorganisms developing in a habitat that was rich in rock salt and other highly hygroscopic compounds that absorb water” explained Victor Parro, researcher from the Center of Astrobiology in Spain. “If there are similar microbes on Mars or remains in similar conditions to the ones we have found in Atacama, we could detect them with instruments like SOLID” Parro highlighted.

H Even more intriguing, however, is the alternative scenario by Spanish scientists: If those samples could be found to that use DNA, as Earthly life does, as their genetic code. It is extremely unlikely that such a highly specialised, complex molecule like DNA could have evolved separately on the two planets, indicating that there must be a common origin for Martian and Earthly life. Life based on DNA first appeared on Mars and then spread to Earth, where it then evolved into the myriad forms of plants and creatures that exist today. If this was found to be the case, we would have to face the logical conclusion: we are all Martian. If not, we would continue to search the life of signs.

Questions 1-6
The reading passage has seven paragraphs A-H. Which paragraph contains the following information?

1. Martian evidence on Earth
2. Mars and Earth may share the same life origin
3. certain agricultural construction was depicted specifically
4. the project which aims to identify life under similar condition of Mars
5. Mars had experienced terrifying climate transformation
6. Attempts in scientific investigation to find liquid water

Questions 7-10
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

7. How did Percival Lowell describe Mars in this passage?
A Perfect observation location is in Arizona.
B Canals of Mars are broader than that of the earth.
C Dedicated water and agriculture trace is similar to the earth.
D Actively moving Martian lives are found by observation.

8. How did people change their point of view towards Mars from 19th century?
A They experienced Martian attack.
B They learned knowledge of mars through some literature works.
C They learned new concept by listening famous radio program.
D They attended lectures given by famous writers.

9. In 1960s, which information is correct about Mars by a number of Probes sent to the space?
A It has a landscape full of rock and river
B It was not as vivid as the earth
C It contained the same substance as in the moon
D It had different images from the following probes

10. What is the implication of project proceeded by technology called SOLID in Atacama Desert?
A It could be employed to explore organisms under Martian condition.
B This technology could NOT be used to identify life on similar condition of Mars.
C Atacama Desert is the only place that has a suitable environment for organisms.
D Life had not yet been found yet in Atacama Desert.

Questions 11-14
Do the following statements agree with the information given in reading passage? In boxes 11-14 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

11. Technology of Martian creature was superior than what human had at that time in every field according to The War of the Worlds
12. Proof sent by Viking probes has not been challenged yet
13. Analysis on meteorite from Mars found a substance which is connected to some germs
14. According to Victor Parro, their project will be deployed on Mars after they identified DNA substance on earth

Global warming: Prevent poles from melting

A Such is our dependence on fossil fuels, and such the volume of carbon dioxide we have already released into the atmosphere, that most climate scientists agree that significant global warming is now inevitable – the best we can hope to do is keep it at a reasonable level, and even that going to be an uphill task.

At present, the only serious option on the table for doing this is cutting back on our carbon emissions, but a few countries are making major strides in this regard, the majority are having great difficulty even stemming the rate of increase, let alone reversing Consequently, an increasing number of scientists are beginning to explore the alternatives. They under the banner of geoengineering generally defined as the intentional large-scale manipulation of the environment.

B Geoengineering has been shown to work, at least on a small, localised scale, for decades. May Day parades in Moscow have taken place under clear blue skies, aircraft having deposited dry ice, silver iodide (m $1) and cement powder to disperse clouds. Many of the schemes now suggested look to do the opposite, and reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the planet.

One scheme focuses on achieving a general cooling of the Earth and involves the concept of releasing aerosol sprays into the stratosphere above the Arctic to create clouds of sulphur dioxide, which would, in turn, lead to a global dimming. The idea is modelled on historical volcanic explosions, such as that of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991; which led to a short-term cooling of global temperatures by 0.5°c. The aerosols could be delivered by artillery, high-flying aircraft or balloons.

C Instead of concentrating on global cooling, other schemes look specifically at reversing the melting at the poles. One idea is to bolster an ice cap by spraying it with water. Using pumps to carry water from below the sea ice the spray would come out as snow or ice particles, producing thicker sea ice with a higher albedo (the ratio of sunlight reflected from a surface) to reflect summer radiation. Scientists have also scrutinised whether it is possible to block iceflow in Greenland with cables which have been reinforced, preventing icebergs from moving into the sea.

Veil Albert Kallio, a Finnish scientist, says that such an idea is impractical, because the force of the ice would ultimately snap the cables and rapidly release a large quantity of frozen ice into the sea. However, Kallio believes that the sort of cables used in suspension bridges could potentially be used to divert, rather than halt, the southward movement of ice from Spitsbergen. It would stop the ice moving south, and local currents would see them float northwards’ he says.

D A number of geoengineering ideas are currently being examined in the Russian Arctic. These include planting millions of birch trees: the thinking, according to Kallio, is that their white bark would increase the amount of reflected sunlight. The loss of their leaves in winter would also enable the snow to reflect radiation. In contrast, the native evergreen pines tend to shade the snow and absorb radiation.

Using ice-breaking vessels to deliberately break up and scatter coastal sea ice in both Arctic and Antarctic waters in their respective autumns, and diverting Russian rivers to increase cold-water flow to ice-forming areas, could also be used to slow down warming, Kallio says. 1 You would need the wind to blow the right way, but in the right conditions, by letting ice float free and head north, you would enhance ice growth.’

E But will such ideas ever be implemented? The major counter-arguments to geoengineering schemes are, first, that they are a ‘cop-out’ that allow US to continue living the way we do, rather than reducing carbon emissions; and, second, even if they do work, would the side-effects outweigh the advantages? Then there’s the daunting prospect of upkeep and repair of any scheme as well as the consequences of a technical failure. ‘I think all of US agree that if we were to end geoengineering on a given day, then the planet would return to its pre-engineered condition very rapidly, and probably within 10 to 20 years’ says Dr Phil Rasch, chief scientist for climate change at the US-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

That’s certainly something to worry about. I would consider geoengineering as a strategy to employ only we manage the conversion to a non-fossil- fuel economy. ‘The risk with geoengineering projects is that you can “overshoot”,’ says Dr Dan hunt, from the University of Bristol. ‘You may bring global temperatures back to pre-industrial levels, but the risk is that the poles will still be warmer than they should be and the tropics be cooler than before industrialization.’

F The main reason why geoengineering is countenanced by the mainstream scientific community is that most researchers have little faith in the of politicians to agree – and then bring in the necessary carbon cuts. Even leading conservation organisations believe the subject worth exploring. As Dr Martin Sommerkorn, a climate change advisor says.’

But human-induced climate change has brought humanity to a position where it important not to exclude thinking thoroughly about this topic and its possibilities despite the potential drawbacks. If, over the coming years, the science US about an ever-increased climate sensitivity of the planet and this isn’t unrealistic – then we may be best served by not having to start our thinking from scratch.

Questions 15-19
Reading Passage has six paragraphs, A-F. Which paragraph contains the following information?

15. the existence of geoengineering projects distracting from the real task of changing the way we live
16. circumstances in which geoengineering has demonstrated success
17. Frustrating maintenance problems associated with geoengineering projects
18. support for geoengineering being due to a lack of confidence in governments
19. more success in fighting climate change in some parts of the world than others

Questions 20-24
Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Geoengineering projects

A range of geoengineering ideas has been put forward, which aim either to prevent the melting of the ice caps or to stop the general rise in global temperatures. One scheme to discourage the melting of ice and snow involves introducing (20)……………. to the Arctic because of their colour. The build-up of ice could be encouraged by dispersing ice along the coasts using special ships and changing the direction of some (21)…………….. but this scheme is dependent on certain weather conditions. Another way of increasing the amount of ice involves using (22)……………… to bring water to the surface. A scheme to stop ice moving would apply (23)……………..but this method is more likely to be successful in preventing the ice from travelling in one direction rather than stopping it altogether. A suggestion for cooling global temperatures is based on what has happened in the past after (24)……………. and it involves creating clouds of gas.

Questions 25-27
Look at the following people (Questions 25-27) and the list of opinions below. Match each person with the correct opinion, A-E. Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 25-27 on your answer sheet.

25. Phil Rasch
26. DanLunt
27. Martin Sommerkorn

List of opinions
A The problems of geoengineering shouldn’t mean that ideas are not seriously considered.
B Some geoengineering projects are more likely to succeed than others.
C Geoengineering only offers a short-term relief.
D A positive outcome of geoengineering may have a negative consequence elsewhere.
E Most geoengineering projects aren’t clear in what they are aiming at.

Rainwater Harvesting

For two years southern Sri Lanka suffered a prolonged drought, described by locals as “the worst in 50 years”. Some areas didn’t see a successful crop for four or five consecutive seasons. Livestock died, water in wells dropped to dangerously low levels, children were increasingly malnourished and school attendance has fallen. An estimated 1.6 million people were affected.

A Muthukandiya is a village in Moneragala district, one of the drought-stricken areas in the “dry zone” of southern Sri Lanka, where half the country’s population of 18 million lives. Rainfall in the area varies greatly from year to year, often bringing extreme dry spells in between monsoons. But this drought was much worse than usual. Despite some rain in November, only half of Moneragala’s 1,400 tube wells were in working order by March. The drought devastated supplies of rice and freshwater fish, the staple diet of inland villages. Many local industries closed down and villagers headed for the towns in search of work.

B The villagers of muthukandiya arrived in the 1970s as part of a government resettlement scheme. Each family was given six acres of land, with no irrigation system. Because crop production, which relies entirely on rainfall, is insufficient to support most families, the village economy relies on men and women working as day-laborers in nearby sugar-cane plantations. Three wells have been dug to provide domestic water, but these run dry for much of the year. Women and children may spend several hours each day walking up to three miles (five kilometers) to fetch water for drinking, washing, and cooking.

C In 1998, communities in the district discussed water problems with Practical Action South Asia. What followed was a drought mitigation initiative based on a low-cost “rainwater harvesting” technology already used in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the region. It uses tanks to collect and store rain channeled by gutters and pipes as it runs off the roofs of houses.

D Despite an indigenous tradition of rain-water harvesting and irrigation systems going back to the third century BC, policy-makers in modern times have often overlooked the value of such technologies, and it is only recently that officials have taken much interest in household-level structures. Government and other programmes have, however, been top-down in their conception and application, installing tanks free of charge without providing training in the skills needed to build and maintain them properly. Practical Action South Asia’s project deliberately took a different approach, aiming to build up a local skills base among builders and users of the tanks, and to create structures and systems so that communities can manage their own rainwater harvesting schemes.

E The community of Muthukandiya was involved throughout. Two meetings were held where villagers analysed their water problems, developed a mitigation plan and selected the rainwater harvesting technology. Two local masons received several days’ on-the-job training in building the 5,000-litre household storage tanks: surface tanks out of Ferro-cement and underground tanks out of brick. Each system, including tank, pipes, gutters and filters, cost US$195 – equivalent to a month’s income for an average village family. Just over half the cost was provided by the community, in the form of materials and unskilled labour. Practical Action South Asia contributed the rest, including cement, transport and payment for the skilled labour. Households learned how to use and maintain the tanks, and the whole community was trained to keep domestic water supplies clean. A village rainwater harvesting society was set up to run the project. To date, 37 families in and around Muthukandiya have storage tanks. Evaluations show clearly that households with rainwater storage tanks have considerably more water for domestic needs than households relying entirely on wells and ponds. During the driest months, households with tanks may have up to twice as much water available. Their water is much cleaner, too.

F Nandawathie, a widow in the village, has taken full advantage of the opportunities that rainwater harvesting has brought her family. With a better water supply now close at hand, she began by growing a few vegetables. The income from selling these helped her to open a small shop on her doorstep. This increased her earnings still further, enabling her to apply for a loan to install solar power in her house. She is now thinking of building another tank in her garden so that she can grow more vegetables. Nandawathie also feels safer now that she no longer has to fetch water from the village well in the early morning or late evening. She says that her children no longer complain so much of diarrhoea. And her daughter Sandamalee has more time for school work.

G In the short term, and on a small scale, the project has clearly been a success. The challenge lies in making such initiatives sustainable and expanding their coverage. At a purely technical level, rainwater harvesting is evidently sustainable. In Muthukandiya, the skills required to build and maintain storage tanks were taught fairly easily and can be shared by the two trained masons, who are now finding work with other development agencies in the district.

H The non-structural elements of the work, especially it’s financial and organizational, present a bigger challenge. A revolving fund was set up, with households that had already benefited agreeing to contribute a small monthly amount to pay for maintenance, repairs and new tanks. However, it appears that the revolving fund concept was not fully understood and it has proved difficult to get households to contribute. Recovering costs from interventions that do not generate income directly will always be a difficult proposition, although this can be overcome if the process is explained more fully at the outset.

I The Muthkandiya initiative was planned as a demonstration project, to show that community-based drought mitigation through rainwater harvesting was feasible. Several other organizations have begun their own projects using the same approach. The feasibility of introducing larger tanks is being investigated.

J However, a lot of effort and patience are needed to generate the interest, develop the skills and organize the management structures needed to implement sustainable community-based projects. It will probably be some time before rainwater harvesting technologies can spread rapidly and spontaneously across the district’s villages, without external support.

Questions 28-33
Answer the questions below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

28. What is the major way for local people make barely support of living in Muthukandiya village?
29. Where can adult workers make extra money from in daytime?
30. What has been dug to supply water for daily household life?
31. In which year did the plan of a new project to lessen the effect of drought begins?
32. Where do the gutters and pipes collect rainwater from?
33. What helps the family obtain more water for domestic needs than those relying on only wells and ponds?

Questions 34-40
Do the following statements agree with the information given in reading passage? In boxes 34-40 on your answer sheet, write

YES                  if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
NO                   if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
NOT GIVEN      if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

34. Most of the government’s actions and other programs have somewhat failed.
35. Masons were trained for the constructing parts of the rainwater harvesting system.
36. The cost of rainwater harvesting systems was shared by local villagers and the local government.
37. Tanks increase both the amount and quality of the water for domestic use.
38. To send her daughter to school, a widow had to work for a job in a rainwater harvesting scheme.
39. Households benefited began to pay part of the maintenance or repairs.
40. Training two masons at the same time is much more preferable to training a single one.

1. D
2. H
3. A
4. G
5. E
6. F
7. C
8. B
9. B
10. B
11. True
12. False
13. True
14. Not given
15. E
16. B
17. E
18. F
19. A
20. Birch trees
21. Russian rivers
22. Pumps
23. Cables
24. Volcanic explosions
25. C
26. D
27. A
28. Crop production
29. Sugar-cane plantations
30. Three wells/ 3 well
31. 1998
32. Roofs of houses
33. Rainwater storage tanks
34. Not given
35. Yes
36. No
37. Yes
38. No
39. Yes
40. Not given