5-speed listening (Life on Mars - Level 2)

Scientists say life on Mars would be difficult






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Scientists have found new things about the environment on Mars. They found a "toxic cocktail" of chemicals that would kill any living thing. The chemicals are on the surface of the Red Planet. The scientists say the discovery of the chemicals means the chance of finding life on Mars is lower. The scientists are astrobiologists – they study the places in the universe that might support life. Mars has no ozone layer, which means there are high levels of ultra-violet (UV) radiation. The mix of UV radiation and the chemicals means it might be possible for anything to grow on Mars.

The scientists tested what happens when the chemicals mix with UV rays. They found that just the chemicals were enough to kill living things. When the chemicals mix with UV rays, the mix kills living things 11 times faster. The scientists said: "Our [findings] show that the surface of…Mars is highly [harmful] to cells, caused by a toxic cocktail of [chemicals] and UV radiation." They say their research is evidence that the land on Mars is deadly to any kind of plant life. They say the chemicals and UV rays make, "much of the surface and near-surface regions uninhabitable".

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