Covered with a mantle that occupies more than two-thirds of its surface, this planet is clearly misnamed Earth. Seen against the blackness of space, it is primarily a world of water. The magic liquid not only gives Earth its distinctive gem-blue colour; it also makes this planet an oasis of life in the sterile void of space.
Some of the other planets -Venus and Mercury, for instance suffer from metal-melting heat. By contrast, Neptune and Pluto are locked in a permanent ice age, with surface temperatures that are near the 459 degrees F of Absolute Zero. But the blue planet, 93 million miles from the sun, is blessed with temperate conditions that, when combined with the unique chemical properties of the water molecule, result in a world where water exists in a liquid state. No other planet in the solar system -as far as scientists have been able to discern -possesses so benign a set of circumstances. Water and the oceans make Earth unique.
As long ago as the 16th century, Leonardo da Vinci realized that "water is the driver of nature". But it is now that mankind is beginning to recognise how fully dependent all life is on the oceans. In interaction with the atmosphere, the oceans help regulate global climate, storing excess heat in the summer and releasing it in winter. They are a source of life-sustaining material and contribute food, minerals and energy, as well as being the roads for commerce and the place where humanity's waste is deposited.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
1.- In your own words and based on the ideas from the text, answer these questions. Be careful with grammar.
A) What makes the Earth different from other planets? PAR. 1
B) Give two reasons why oceans are so important for life. PAR. 3
2.- Are the following TRUE (T) or FALSE (F)? Give the evidence from the text. No marks are given for only TRUE or FALSE.
A) The importance of water for nature has been recognized only very recently.
- TRUE. “As long ago as the 16th century, Leonardo da Vinci realized that "water is the driver of nature". But it is now that mankind is beginning to recognise how fully dependant all life is on the oceans.”
B) Except the Earth, Neptune and Pluto, all the other planets suffer from extreme temperatures.
II. USE OF ENGLISH
3. - Find the words or phrases in the text that mean:
A) a place with trees and water in a desert (paragraph 1) > oasisB) the outer part (paragraph 2) > surfaceC) free from very high and low temperatures (paragraph 2) > benignD) used, damaged, or unwanted matter (paragraph 3) > waste
4.- Complete the following sentences. Use the appropriate form of the words in brackets when given.
A) Recent observations have revealed (reveal) unsuspected supplies of underground water in the driest (dry) part of the Egyptian Sahara.B) Nowadays everybody is aware of the problem of water pollution due to the efforts of conservationists and environmentalists.C) In the U.S.A, salt water is converted (convert) into usable fresh water by means of an expensive system recently developed.