martes, 28 de agosto de 2012

US astronaut Neil Armstrong dies: Video listening activity

On 25th August astronaut Neil Armstrong died. We have been flooded with news and reports about this sad event. I think that this BBC video clip is more than suitable for a listening activity intended for intermediate students.

Self-study activity:
Watch the clip by clicking on the picture or the BBC link and answer the questions below.

1 What was the problem the Apollo 11 had to face right before landing on the Moon?
2 When did Neil Armstrong start flying?
3 What did he do before becoming a test pilot?
4 What negative characteristic of his personality is mentioned?
5 What characteristics made him suitable to command the Apollo mission?
6 What did he do after his return from the Moon?
7 What was happening while President Obama was talking to the Apollo 11 crew?
8 What was the positive effect of the moon landing for mankind?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below.

If you wish to find out more about Neil Armstrong and the first landing on the moon, you can watch this BBC4 documentary. It is really long, one hour, and unfortunately there are no subtitles available.

In July 1969 the world watched in awe as Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon.
 “It’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The commander of the Apollo 11 mission had earlier manually piloted the lunar module to a suitable landing site with just seconds of fuel to spare…
 “Listen… The Eagle has landed.”
… to the obvious relief of mission control.
 “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot.”
Tonight his family said “While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hopes that it serves as an example to young people around the world.”
And a man who walked beside him on the lunar surface issued his own tribute.
“I was fortunate enough to be one of those crew members and to fly with an outstanding test pilot, Neil Armstrong, and accompany him in the Lunar Module Eagle. We’re missing a great spokesman and leader in the space programme.”
A pilot from the age of 16, Neil Armstrong flew 78 missions during the Korean War before working as a test pilot flying rocket powered aircraft at Edwards Airforce Base. He was chosen as an astronaut for the Gemini Programme bringing his Gemini spacecraft safely to earth in March 1966 after it got out of control while reentering the atmosphere. Though painfully shy his professional approach and coolness under pressure, shown here when he ejected during training on a lunar landing module, made him a natural choice to command the Apollo mission.
Following his return from the moon, Neil Armstrong avoided publicity and became a professor at Cincinnati University. On the 30th anniversary of his historic landing he made a rare public appearance which summed up his view of the moon landings.
 “The important achievement of Apollo was the demonstration that humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited.”
Ten years later the Apollo 11 crew were feted by President Obama to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their mission, but as hands were being shaken the White House was making plans to scrap the Space Shuttle Programme ending the US’s man space programme. When I met Neil Armstrong later that year he wouldn’t speak out publicly against a decision that angered him and many of his Apollo astronauts, but when I spoke to him 15 years ago he was confident that one day astronauts would follow in his footsteps back to the Moon and maybe on to Mars.
 “The dream remains, the reality has faded a bit but it will come back in time.”
Although the flag was American, it was a moment that belonged to the world, bringing together a warring planet and showing us all what humanity could achieve.