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Exercise 6. Read and smile.




The Farmer and the Apple Tree

A farmer once had a friend who was famous for wonderful apple trees which he grew. One day this friend gave the farmer a fine young tree and told him to take it home and plant it. The farmer was pleased with the gift, but when he got home he did not know how to plant it. If he planted it near the road, people might steal the fruit. If he planted it in his field, his neighbours might come at night and rob () him. If he planted it near the house, his own children might steal the apples. Finally he planted the tree deep in the woods where no one could see it. But naturally the tree couldn't grow without sunlight and suitable soil. In time, it withered () and died.

Later his friend was criticising him for planting the tree in such a poor place.

What is the difference, the farmer said. If I had planted the tree near the road, people would have stolen the fruit. If I had planted it in my field, my neighbours would have come at night and robbed me. If I had planted it near my house, my own children would have stolen the apples.

Indeed! But at least someone could have enjoyed the fruit, said his friend. Now you have robbed everyone of the apples, and you have destroyed a fine tree.

A farmer's wife spent most of her time wishing for things which she did not possess. She wished she were beautiful; she wished she were rich; she wished she had a handsome () husband. Therefore one day fairies () decided to give her three wishes as an experiment.

The farmer and his wife talked for a long time over what she would wish for. But the farmer's wife suddenly became a little hungry () and wished she had some sausages to eat. At once her plate was full of sausages. Then a heated argument began, because her husband said his wife had wasted one of the valuable wishes on such a cheap thing as sausages. The argument grew hotter, and finally the wife cried that she wished the sausages were hanging from her husband's nose. At once a row of sausages flew to her husband's nose and stayed there. Nor could they be removed.

Now there was the only one thing the poor woman could do. She really loved her husband and so she had to spend her third wish


in removing the sausages from his nose. Thus, except for the few sausages, she got nothing from her three wishes.

Text 12B

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Benefits of Building the International Space Station

When studying sound, you go into a quiet room. When studying light, you go into a dark room. When studying the effects of gravity, you would like to go into an anti-gravity room. Since there is no such thing on Earth, we have the International Space Station.

By flying around Earth at about 17,500 mph the station and everything in it remain in orbit, a continuous free fall around the planet. In orbit, forces are balanced and the effects of gravity are essentially removed. The result is microgravity, one of the unique phenomena of the ISS environment that promises new discovery. Thus, the ISS allows long-term exposure to a world nearly unexplored.

Gravity affects everything. From our bodies to the materials we use to build cars and buildings, to the flames we use to heat our homes, our world is controlled by gravity. Even flames burn differently without gravity. Reduced gravity reduces convection currents, the currents that cause warm air or fluid to rise and cool air or fluid to descend on Earth. This absence of convection changes the flame shape in orbit and allows studies of the combustion process that are impossible on Earth. The absence of convection allows molten metals or other materials to be mixed more thoroughly in orbit than on Earth, opening the way to a whole new world of composite materials. Scientists plan to study this field, to create better metal alloys and more perfect materials for applications such as computer chips. Investigations that use lasers to cool atoms to near absolute zero may help us understand gravity itself.

While investigating our surroundings, we have been limited, until recently, to accepting gravity as a given factor in all our studies. History shows that changing what once was constant can lead to revolutionary discoveries.

The 19th century saw temperature and pressure become controlled in new ways to use steam power and revolutionize the way we live. The 21st century offers the hope of controlling gravity's effects to understand why things behave the way they do. Observing and understanding this behaviour is key to new discoveries in many scientific disciplines and using that knowledge is key to the im-


provement of life on Earth. The station will allow mankind to perform research that may result in new medicines, materials and industries on Earth and will benefit people all over the world.

The Space Station Mir gave us a platform for long-term micro-gravity research, and important knowledge about how to live and work in space. Like all research, we must proceed one step at a time. As we open one door, answering one question, we are faced with the opportunity of more doors, more questions.

The ISS is the next step in that journey of discovery, and represents a quantum leap () in our capability to conduct research on orbit. In space, electrical power is key to the quantity and quality of research. When completed, the ISS's enormous solar panels will supply 60 times more power for science than did Mir. This and the large space available for experiments will provide scientists with unprecedented access to this unique environment.

Aboard the ISS scientists will explore basic questions in the fields of biotechnology, biomedical research, fluid physics, fundamental biology, physics, Earth science and space science. Observations of the Earth from orbit are expected to help the study of large-scale, long-term changes in the environment. The effects of air pollution, such as smog over cities; the cutting and burning of forests, and of water pollution are visible from space and can provide a global perspective unavailable from the ground.

Thanks to its research and technology the station is certain to serve as an absolutely essential step in preparation for future human space exploration.

Text 12C

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Living Aboard the Space Shuttle and the ISS

We often see the cosmonauts carry out their complicated work in space, but what do they do in their off-duty hours? What do they eat, where do they sleep?

One of the main features of the Shuttle is the relatively low forces of gravity during launch and reentry. These are about 3 g, that is within the limits that can be withstood by people.

Its living accommodation is relatively comfortable. The crew cabin is 71.5 m. There are two floors inside the cabin. On the top level, the commander and pilot monitor and control sophisticated equipment. Behind their seats is a work area where the crew can carry out experiments.


The bottom level is the living area. It contains facilities for sleeping, eating and waste disposal.

Living in such a kind of cabin requires only ordinary clothing. Air pressure is the same as the Earth's at sea level. This air is made of 80 % nitrogen and 20 % oxygen. The air is cleaner than the Earth's. Temperature can be regulated between 16 and 32 C.

The Shuttle meals are eaten in a small dining area consisting of a table and restraints () which function as chairs while eating in zero-gravity. Meals are served in a special tray which separates different food containers and keeps them from floating around in the weightless cabin. Most foods can be eaten with ordinary spoons and forks as long as there are no sudden starts and stops.

Just as on Earth recreation and sleep are important to good health in space. Different games, books and cassette-recorders to listen to music are available.

In zero-gravity there is no up position and the cosmonaut is oriented in the sleeping bag as if he or she were sleeping up. Now beds are built into the walls with an individual light, communications, fan, sound suppression, blanket and sheets. They even have pillows.

Experiences on the space shuttle have helped prepare astronauts for life aboard the International Space Station. Let's imagine the life at the station in several years.

Life-support systems on the ISS can supply cleaner air, purer water, better food and more sanitary toilet facilities than on the space shuttle. Life aboard the station may not be easy, but it is significantly healthier and more pleasant than in the past, allowing astronauts to focus on the scientific research and station maintenance that occupy them for about 9 hours a day.

The kitchen on the station, for the first time in space history, has refrigerators and freezers. It may not sound like much, but it is a giant step forward. For the first 30 years in space, all food was kept at room temperature. Only now, in the 21st century, can refrigerator allow NASA to supply milk to help with bone loss in space flight. A glass of nice cold milk was asked for years. And the refrigerator proved to be an easier solution than a lot of experiments to make good powdered () milk for a number of years.

Later in the day, thanks to another kitchen appliance, cosmonauts will eat a frozen dinner just like the ones sold in supermarkets. The combination convection/microwave oven automatically thaws () your food (using heat), than heats it with microwaves (just as they do on Earth).


The refrigerator, freezer, and oven mean that astronauts eat a healthier diet. The shuttle food was low in fiber. The ISS food can overcome that with salads, fruit, vegetables, apples, oranges, etc., a space expert had predicted. Now, with these food delivered by the space shuttle a few times a year, you no longer have to take special tablets.

There is no dishwasher in the kitchen. Instead, you wash your magnetic silverware ( ) with antiseptic towelet-tes (). It does not seem very hygienic, but the shuttle astronauts just had to lick their silverware clean.

The empty food containers will be either ejected into space to burn up on re-entry to the atmosphere or returned to Earth on the shuttle.

The next step in life support will be a completely closed air-and-food cycle, with plants grown in space. Plants and microorganisms could even help remove contaminants from the water supply. It is that sort of research that will be necessary if people are ever to establish settlements far beyond Earth.

Biological approaches to supplying food, water, and air could not only save power aboard the station, but could also reduce the number of resupply trips required.

May be some day astronauts will have fresh bread on the station. But even with today's frozen dinners, they already spend 4 hours a day on meals and hygiene. Exercise takes 2 hours more a day. That leaves them just an hour of free time for the simple pleasures of life in space: The view of Earth through the window. A letter e-mailed from their family. Microwave popcorn with a movie. And the friendship of the crew members with whom they share this tiny world.

Text 12D


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