Using taxpayer funds to look for life on other planets

The Debate on Using Public Funds for Extraterrestrial Life Research.

Some people believe that using taxpayer funds to look for life on other planets is important. Others, however, think that it is a waste of public money because there are much more important issues requiring funding on our own planet. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Phrasal verbs:

1. “Unravel the mysteries“: To solve or discover something that is difficult to understand or explain.

2. “Hold the belief“: To have a particular opinion or belief about something.

3. “Catalyze the development“: To cause or accelerate the progress or development of something.

4. “Weigh against“: To compare or consider something in relation to other things or factors.

5. “Grapple with“: To struggle or deal with something that is difficult or challenging.

6. “Account for“: To take into consideration or provide an explanation for something.


1. “Advocates of extraterrestrial life research contend that…” – This structure introduces the perspective or opinion of a certain group of people who support the research of extraterrestrial life.

2. “They also assert that…” – This structure indicates that the advocates of extraterrestrial life research are making another point or argument in support of their perspective.

3. “However, my personal perspective is that…” – This structure introduces a contrasting perspective or opinion to the one mentioned before. It is a way of introducing a counterargument.

4. “To conclude, the search for extraterrestrial life is an enthralling and valuable pursuit, but it must be balanced against other equally significant needs.” – This structure is a concluding sentence that summarizes the main argument of the passage and provides a clear stance on the topic.

Phrases or collocations:

1. “enigmatic and profound questions” – a complex and deep question that is difficult to understand or explain.

2. “momentous impact” – a significant and consequential effect that has far-reaching implications.

3. “revolutionize our understanding” – to completely change and transform our knowledge or comprehension of something.

4. “allocation of financial resources” – the distribution and use of financial funds.

5. “cautiously weighed against” – carefully considered and balanced with other factors.

6. “essential programs” – important and necessary initiatives or projects.

7. “scarce resources” – limited or scarce materials, funds or resources.

8. “prudently and effectively utilized” – used wisely and efficiently.

9. “accounting for the limitations and benefits” – taking into consideration both the drawbacks and advantages.

10. “equally significant needs” – other important priorities or requirements of the same magnitude or significance.

Vocabulary and synonyms:

1. Quest (n.) – a search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something.

Synonyms: pursuit, search, exploration, expedition.

2. Enigma (n.) – a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.

Synonyms: mystery, puzzle, riddle, conundrum.

3. Momentous (adj.) – of great importance or significance, especially in its bearing on the future.

Synonyms: significant, consequential, historic, crucial.

4. Catalyze (v.) – to bring about or stimulate the occurrence of something.

Synonyms: trigger, spark, incite, activate.

5. Genesis (n.) – the origin or mode of formation of something.

Synonyms: origin, beginning, emergence, creation.

6. Allocation (n.) – the action or process of distributing or assigning something.

Synonyms: distribution, allotment, apportionment, assignment.

7. Cautiously (adv.) – in a way that is careful to avoid potential problems or dangers.

Synonyms: carefully, prudently, judiciously, circumspectly.

8. Essential (adj.) – absolutely necessary; extremely important.

Synonyms: necessary, vital, crucial, fundamental.

9. Pressing (adj.) – requiring immediate attention or action.

Synonyms: urgent, critical, important, crucial.

10. Cognizant (adj.) – having knowledge or being aware of something.

Synonyms: aware, conscious, mindful, informed.

Model answer: Band 8+

The quest for discovering life beyond our planet has been an ongoing topic of discourse and dispute for eons. While some enthusiasts hold the belief that utilizing public funds to unravel the mysteries of extraterrestrial life is an absolute necessity, skeptics view this endeavor as a wasteful and futile expenditure of public resources.

Advocates of extraterrestrial life research contend that this provides a golden opportunity to resolve one of the most enigmatic and profound questions in human history and science: does life exist beyond Earth? They also assert that this endeavor will have a momentous impact on scientific and technological advancement, catalyzing the development of innovative instruments, techniques, and methods of exploration that can be applied for other purposes. In addition, even the discovery of microorganisms or the slightest indication of extraterrestrial life will revolutionize our understanding of the universe and the genesis of life.

However, my personal perspective is that despite the importance of such research, the allocation of financial resources towards it should be cautiously weighed against other crucial and pressing needs, and not at the expense of other essential programs. The earth is grappling with a plethora of critical issues like poverty, hunger, disease, and environmental degradation, all of which require immediate attention and funding. It is imperative that we remain cognizant of our scarce resources and their responsible and effective utilization.

To conclude, the search for extraterrestrial life is an enthralling and valuable pursuit, but it must be balanced against other equally significant needs. It is imperative that the investment in this field is prudently and effectively utilized, accounting for the limitations and benefits of the research, and not at the expense of other essential programs.

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