IELTS Reading: The Origin of Water

This practice exercise is about space and tests your ability to deal with true, false not given questions.

Where Did Earth’s Water Come From?

The exact origin of our planet’s water, which covers about 70 percent of Earth’s surface, is still a mystery to scientists. Many researchers think that, instead of water forming at the same time as Earth, objects in the outer solar system delivered water to Earth in violent collisions shortly after its formation.

Astronomers began to wonder if clues to our water’s past may lie in the asteroid belt. This region of hundreds of thousands of asteroids orbiting between the inner and outer planets was believed by astronomers to be too close to the sun to house water, but astronomers recently found the first evidence of ice on the asteroid 24 Themis.

This discovery and others of ice on asteroids suggest that there might be far more ice in the asteroid belt than originally thought and provide another possibility for the origin of ocean water. Probes sent to explore asteroids, such as the DAWN spacecraft, in the upcoming years will reveal more about their mysterious water ice, potentially help us understand the beginnings of Earth’s water.

Questions 1-5

Do the following statements agree with the information given in passage above?


  • True – if the statement agrees with the information
  • False – if the statement contradicts the information
  • Not Given – if there is no information on this
  1. 70% of the Earth is covered in water from a known source.
  2. Astronomers studied thousands of asteroids for signs of water.
  3. It was believed that asteroids did not have water because of the proximity to the sun.
  4. It has long been known that there was ice on the asteroid 24 Themis.
  5. More information will be gleaned about the ice on asteroids by dispatching probes.


Click below to reveal the answers

  1. False
  2. Not Given
  3. True
  4. False
  5. True

Passage from

  • collision = crash, impact, accident
  • to wonder = to speculate, to question
  • clue = indication, sign, evidence
  • astronomer = a person who studies space and the universe
  • asteroid = a kind of rock orbiting (circling, going round) the sun
  • house (vb) = to contain, to store
  • upcoming years = future, approaching
  • gleaned = learned, collected, gathered



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Matching Sentence Endings: IELTS Reading Practice

In this type of question you need to choose the correct ending for each sentence by selecting the ending from a list given. This is not the most common question type in IELTS reading but it does appear in the test and it is worth practicing.

Skim read the passage and then read through the sentences with the possible endings. Pay attention to grammar in order to complete each sentence – the sentence must be grammatically correct. The information contained in a correctly completed sentence can be found in the passage.

NASA’s Orion ‘Mars Ship’ set for test flight

IELTS Space Topic

A US space capsule that could help get humans to Mars is about to make its maiden flight.Orion will be launched on a Delta rocket out of Cape Canaveral in Florida on a short journey above the Earth to test key technologies. The conical vessel is reminiscent of the Apollo command ships that took men to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, but bigger and with cutting-edge systems. Given that this is a first outing, there will be no people aboard.

Nonetheless, the US space agency describes the demonstration as a major event. Nasa has a window in which to launch Orion of about two-and-a-half hours, which began at 07:05 local time (12:05 GMT). The launch preparations had to be stopped shortly before the opening of the window because a boat strayed into the eastern part of the launch range. After that, the countdown had to be held because of strong winds and a technical issue.

Orion is being developed alongside a powerful new rocket that will have its own debut in 2017 or 2018. Together, they will form the core capabilities needed to send humans beyond the International Space Station to destinations such as the Red Planet. For Thursday’s flight, the Delta IV-Heavy rocket – currently the beefiest launcher in the world – is being used as a stand-in. It will send Orion twice around the globe, throwing the ship up to an altitude of almost 6,000km (3,600 miles). This will set up a fast fall back to Earth, with a re-entry speed into the atmosphere close to 30,000km/h (20,000mph) – near what would be expected of a capsule coming back from the Moon. It should give engineers the opportunity to check the performance of Orion’s critical heat shield, which is likely to experience temperatures in excess of 2,000C (4,000F). They will also watch how the parachutes deploy as they gently lower the capsule into Pacific waters off Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. (Passage from BBC News)

Questions 1-4

Complete the sentences by selecting the correct ending, A-G (not all letters will be used).

  1.  The first ever flight of Orion is aimed to ……
  2. Although the shape of Orion is similar to previous ships, it ………..
  3. A new rocket is also being developed which …………
  4. The rocket which will be used as a replacement will ………….
  5. As temperatures reach extreme levels on re-entry, this maiden flight will ……….
  • a. send Orion twice around the world.
  • b. has state of the art technology.
  • c. test the critical heat shield.
  • d. check Orion’s performance.
  • e. test the most important technology.
  • f. will have its first voyage in a few years.
  • g. help humans get to Mars
  1. e
  2. b
  3. f
  4. a
  5. c
Vocab Builder
  • maiden flight / maiden voyage = first ever flight / first journey
  • conical = shaped narrowing to a point
  • similar to something in the past
  • cutting-edge = front-line / pioneering / brand-new
  • strayed = drifted
  • debut = first appearance
  • in excess of = more than
  • (parachute) deploys = opens


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