ENVIRONNEMENTS EN MUTATION: Frontière et espace, la course à l’espace

Video n°1: The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Main information

The difficulties the explorers had to face

– They must /may have suffered from extreme temperatures.

– The expedition must have been brought to a halt by bad weather and snow in the mountains.

– It must have been hazardous (= dangerous) to cross and navigate rivers.

– They definitely suffered from illnesses (=diseases) like / such as the flu (= la grippe), pneumonia (/njuːˈməʊniə/), small pox (= variole), which was a lethal (/ˈliːθəl/) ( or fatal (/ˈfeɪtəl/)) disease, cholera etc.

– They must / may have had arguments (= quarrels) regarding (= concerning) work, the itinerary …

– They had to fight the native tribes they came across (= to encounter)

– They had to endure (= surmonter) lack of sleep and exhaustion ((/ɪgˈzɔːstʃən/) = épuisement)

– They could easily get lost and be attacked by wild animals such as / like grizzly bears (/ˈbɛərz/) or wolves (a wolf= loup). They must / may have got(ten) lost.

Map: Pushing back the frontiers

Map : Pushing back the frontiers : pull and push factors

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/znhkpg8/revision/1 (presentation + online test)

Push factors

Pull factors

What caused or forced homesteaders (/ˈhəʊmˌstɛdəz/) to leave the east coast

What led or attracted settlers (= colons) to the west coast

– overcrowding

– need for jobs

– ethnic / religious repression

– refuge for outlaws (= hors-la-loi)

– land (cheap and plentiful)

– riches (gold in California in 1848 : the gold rush, silver and oil)

– freedom of religion (the Mormons, attacked by mobs, set up Salt Lake City, « the promised land »

– family connections

– jobs and new opportunities

– adventure

Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny is the 19th-century belief that it was the divine mission of the United States to expand westward across the North American continent. In doing so, the Americans would spread (= répandre) democratic and Protestant ideals.

The idea of Manifest Destiny was used to validate continental acquisitions in the western part of North America.

Work of art: Space cowboy

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

American historical landmark depicted here:

The aim of the artists:

Video n°2: President Kennedy on the New Frontier

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not. (…)

We mean to be a part of it–we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond. (…) Our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men. (…)

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind. (…)

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that (…) challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win. (…)

Why is winning the space race so important ?

This speech marked the beginning of a bold new era for humanity; an era of exploration and innovation in outer space.

It was delivered near the height of the Cold War and at the beginning of the “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The Soviet satellite “Sputnik” had been launched 4 years before and Yuri Gagarin had become the first human being in history to enter space. The United States was rapidly losing the race into space, as well as technological supremacy and prestige, to its Cold War adversary. The American public was on the verge of panic over the implications of a “Red Moon.”  

Paragraph one compares the space race and all its difficulties with the very beginning of the American nation with its first settlement (« plymouth colony in Massachussetts) ; the first settlers did not give up , neither will the American people in the space race)

(2) « We choose to go to the moon in this decade » : Kennedy needed to forge a  new direction for the United States, one that would excite and energize the American public and reestablish American eminence in global affairs.

(2b) and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that (…) challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win. : an invitation to set asides rivalries towards achieving a common goal.

 « The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not. » : Space exploration is an inevitability.

« Our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort » : Americans considered that their freedom and liberty was being threatened by the Soviet Union. That was both an ideological and a technological struggle

Its hazards are hostile to us all : he wants to address potential criticisms : Space exploration is hard and costly.

 Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind. : that’s a challenge to reinforce American leadership as an innovative power : this is the American spirit

Speech: President Obama on space exploration in the 21st C

John F. Kennedy Space Center, April 2010

The story of NASA started a little more than half a century ago, far from the Space Coast, in a remote and desolate region of what is now called Kazakhstan. Because it was from there that the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.(…) Americans were dumbfounded. The Soviets, it was perceived, had taken the lead in a race for which we were not yet fully prepared.
But we caught up very quick. President Eisenhower signed legislation to create NASA and to invest in science and math education, from grade school to graduate school. In 1961, President Kennedy boldly declared before a joint session of Congress that the United States would send a man to the Moon and return him safely to the Earth within the decade. And as a nation, we set about meeting that goal. (…)
In the years that have followed, the space race inspired a generation of scientists and innovators, and contributed to immeasurable technological advances that have improved our health and well-being, from satellite navigation to water purification, from aerospace manufacturing to medical imaging. (…)
And leading the world to space helped America achieve new heights of prosperity here on Earth, while demonstrating the power of a free and open society to harness the ingenuity of its people.

(…) Today, I’d like to talk about the next chapter in this story. The challenges facing our space program are different, and our imperatives for this program are different, than in decades past. We’re no longer racing against an adversary. We’re no longer competing to achieve a singular goal like reaching the Moon. In fact, what was once a global competition has long since become a global collaboration. But while the measure of our achievements has changed a great deal over the past 50 years, what we do — or fail to do — in seeking new frontiers is no less consequential for our future in space and here on Earth.

Question: To what extent have the objectives of space exploration evolved for president Obama ?

Text: Jeff Bezos wants to build a road to space

Text: Science first, ethics later?

Questions :

1) Define the topic of the article

2) Explain the question raised in the article.

3) Give the author’s point of view and the answer she suggests.

Grammar time: the passive voice

La forme :



A sees B

B is seen by A

A is seeing B

B is being seen by A

A saw B

B was seen by A

A was seeing B

B was being seen by A

A has seen B

B has been seen by A

A will see B

B will be seen by A

L’emploi :

En général, on emploie la forme passive lorsqu’:

on ne connaît pas l’agent, Ex. My car has been stolen. On a volé ma voiture; je ne sais pas qui l’a fait. J’aurais pu dire ‘Somebody has stolen my car’ (voix active).

on ne s’intéresse pas tellement à l’agent mais plutôt à l’action ou au résultat de l’action, Ex. A new office block is being built in the city centre. Tout ce qui m’intéresse est qu’un nouvel immeuble est en train d’être construit; je ne m’intéresse pas à quelle société effectue les travaux.

on s’intéresse plutôt à l’action (ou au résultat de l’action) qu’à l’agent, Ex. A new cancer treatment has been discovered by scientists in Sweden. Ce qui est intéressant est la découverte d’un nouveau traitement pour le cancer; le fait que cela ait été fait en Suède est moins important pour celui qui en parle.

l’agent est trop évident pour qu’on se donne la peine de le mentionner, Ex. The suspect was questioned before being released. Il est évident que c’est la police qui a interrogé le suspect avant de le relâcher; tout le monde comprend sans qu’on le dise.

A la voix passive, le sujet subit l’action du verbe; si on mentionne l’agent (= sujet à la voix active), il faut l’introduire après le verbe par la préposition by


Le passif est employé pour traduire des phrases du français qui:

  • sont à la voix passive aussi.
  • ont un verbe pronominal. ex: Cela ne se fait pas = that just isn’t done.
  • sont du genre « on… », Ex. On m’a invité à une fête = I’ve been invited to a party.

D’ailleurs, quelles sont les autres façons de traduire « on » en anglais ?

– « we » : lorsque celui qui parle est concerné. Ex : We ‘ve just had a drink at the café.

– « they » : lorsqu’on mentionne un groupe sans s’y inclure. Ex : In Ireland, they drink a lot of whisky.

– « you » par parler des gens en général. Ex : You never know.

– « one » / « no one » en langage formel pour parler d’une généraité. Ex : One cannot change the world.

– « someone » / « somebody » quand on ne peut pas identifier qui. Ex : Someone is knocking at the door.

La meilleure option reste la voie passive.

Grammar practice

Identify each sentence as either active or passive.

1 According to a new study published in ‘Science’, the math gender gap has vanished.

2 A novel way to lose weight has been discovered at Duke Children Children’s Hospital by Dr Sarah Armstrong, director of the Healthy Lifestyles Program.

3 People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

4 A total of 800 homes were destroyed in the counties surrounding Los Angeles.

5 Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate.


Select the correct passive construction for each of the following active sentences:

1. Cyclone Katrina flattened the city in a matter of seconds.

2. The police had arrested many people for looting.

3. The aid workers did not speak the local language.

4. Cyclone Katrina has made thousands homeless.

5. The global community is donating millions of dollars in aid to rebuild the city.

6. The government will withdraw its financial support for New Zealand’s challenge in the America’s Cup in 2015.

Change each of the following into passive to put emphasis on the result of the action.

Example: The computer stores information. —–> Information is stored in the computer.

1.     The brain stores information.

2.     The brain altersorganises, and transfers information into one or more memory stores.

3.     A cellphone network can overcome the problem of a lack of suitable frequencies.

4.     Samuel Morse first developed the telegraph in 1832.

5.     Places such as airports, supermarkets, and hospitals use automatic doors.

6.     Fletcher Challenge Limited is building the new underpass linking the hospital to the School of Medicine.

7.     A short circuit in one of the engines has caused the fire.

8.     The university will pass a new code of ethics for engineers next year.

9.     They may spend an additional two million dollars on upgrading Eden Park.

10.   They should finish the project by the end of 2010.



1. At the beginning, the report mentions the missile’s …

a) weight. b) name. c) constructor.

2. Which sentence about Alan Shepard at the time is not true?

a) He was an experienced pilot. b) He was less than 40 years old. c) He was not a member of the armed services.

3. Shepard’s space flight took place … after that of Yuri Gagarin.

a) one week b) less than a month c) about a year

4. Which one of these sentences is true?

a) There had been very few test flights before this mission. b) Many reporters witnessed Shepard’s takeoff. c) Shepard’s flight took place in complete secrecy.

5. What was the role of John Glenn?

a) He acted as a backup to Shepard. b) He was in charge of the operation. c) He was just a family friend.

6. What was Shepard’s top altitude?

a) 100 miles b) 115 miles c) 150 miles

7. The report suggests that the Americans were superior to the Soviets in … technology.

a) rocket b) communications c) military


1. What is the astronauts’ background? a) research b) the navy c) varied

2. What does one of the astronauts say about learning Russian? a) He finds it easy. b) It is a fascinating challenge. c) It’s very difficult for him.

3. An astronaut suggests that the wilderness training was … a) quite useless. b) very rewarding. c) a miserable experience.

4. Who called to congratulate the astronauts on graduation day? a) the director of NASA b) the Vice-President c) the President

5. The group’s nickname is that of a … a) bird. b) marine animal. c) mammal.

6. The pin means that its recipients … a) are qualified astronauts. b) have just come back from space. c) are top of their class.