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Reading skills - THE ROCKY PLANET


Klausimas #1


 THE ROCKY PLANET

     The Earth is a small rocky planet with an orbit between those of Venus and Mars. It has a thin layer of gases forming an atmosphere around it. Seven tenths of the surface is covered with water, the rest made up of rock.
     We all live on the planet Earth. It provides us with the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. The rocks ofthe Earth provide us with all the materials we need. This includes the raw materials, concrete, plastic and many other things. The Earth is vital to us,yet we know very little. There are many questions that we can understand and use the Earth's resources wisely. Where did the Earth come from ? How was it formed? What is it made of? What was it like in the past and what it might be like in the future?
     Our planet is one of nine planets that make up the solar system. All the planets were formed about the same time.
     In about 1650 Archbishop Usher worked out that the Earth was formed at exactly 9.00 a.m. on the 23rd October, 4004 B.C. He did this after careful study of many religious books. By 1897, William Kelvin, a British scientist, decided that the Earth was between 20 and 40 million years old. He got this answer by trying to work out how quickly the Earth was cooling down.
     Nowadays we tell the age of rocks by how much radioactivity is left in them. We now believe that the earth is about 4600 million years old.
    How did the Universe begin? The answer is nobody knows. Nowadays most astronomers believe that it started with a big bang. At one moment there was nothing. No light, no space, no heat, no material, and no time. Nothing. Out of nothing there was an unimaginably big explosion. The matter formed by this explosion collected together as groups of stars called galaxies. From the swirling clouds of dust around the stars we believe the planets formed. But nobody knows for sure.

(from 'Science Horisons', London 1988)

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