Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What did ancient people notice about planets that set them apart from the stars?

2. Which of the following is NOT one of the major unknowns that Sagan says he will address in this book?

3. What is the most important thing that would immediately be apparent to any alien intelligence that found the Voyager probes?

4. What innovation was crucial in discovering Titan?

5. Conditions of what type were extremely important in the creation of early life on Earth?

Short Essay Questions

1. What "malevolent" theology does Sagan describe in Chapter 3, "The Great Demotions"?

2. What is the problem of perspective in estimating the importance of human beings?

3. What undesirable features of human activity might be easily noticed from space?

4. When this book was written, what was known about planets in other solar systems?

5. What does the Strong Anthropomorphic principle suggest?

6. What are the distinguishing characteristics of the planet Uranus?

7. What does the image of the "pale blue dot" suggest to Sagan?

8. How could Dermott's calculations about Titan be confirmed?

9. What are the distinguishing characteristics of the moon Titan?

10. What aspects of science make it unappealing to some?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sagan regards the Voyager craft as triumphs of engineering and human ingenuity. These craft were designed to explore most of the planets in the solar system, and then to journey outwards from it to the stars.

1) Describe the Voyager craft, their missions, and capabilities. What planets were these craft intended to explore?

2) Discuss the differences between the Voyager mission and previous efforts in space exploration. How were these craft significantly different?

3) Explain Sagan's particular interest in the Voyager craft and why he believes them each to be a triumph.

4) Summarize some of the important observations that the Voyager craft made.

Essay Topic 2

Neptune is the most distant planet in the solar system.

1) Describe how Neptune was discovered.

2) Discuss and explain some of Neptune's distinguishing characteristics, including its warmth and Jupiter-like atmosphere.

3) Summarize Sagan's assessment of the planet an its importance in the field of space exploration. Why was it visited by the Voyager probes?

Essay Topic 3

The program SETI is the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Sagan endorses this program whole-heartedly despite its failure to date and many complaints about its cost.

1) Explain the SETI program and its goals, and how it goes about its search for intelligence.

2) Discuss some of the criticisms about the SETI program.

3) Explain why Sagan maintains his support for the program, despite its failure to date.

(see the answer keys)

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