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. At the time of the writing of this book, what is the farthest planet that humans had reached through the use of exploratory probes?

2. What does Sagan say that philosophy and religion should provide?

3. In Chapter 5 Sagan asks the reader to imagine that they are which of the following?

4. What material that humans have added to the environment would be easily detectable from space?

5. One feature that Sagan suggests would be easier to detect that human intelligence would be flatulence from what kind of animal?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Sagan think about the failure of the Voyager probes to find life in the solar system?

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

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

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

6. Briefly describe the progress made to undermine the geocentric theory.

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

8. What seemingly important features of humanity does Sagan deny to be distinguishing?

9. What dangers did the Voyager I spacecraft face in taking a distant picture of Earth?

10. Describe the planet Neptune.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Venus was once considered to be a "sister planet" to Earth, but is now known to be dramatically different from our own planet.

1) Discuss the characteristics of Venus, including the oddities in its climate, atmosphere, and surface.

2) Explain some of the similarities and differences between Earth and Venus and explain why this planet was once considered a "sister planet" to Earth.

3) Discuss Venus' unique place in the mythologies of ancient cultures around the world, as well as its unique positioning in the night sky as seen from Earth.

Essay Topic 2

Terraforming is the process of modifying and entire planet to make it more hospitable for human life.

1) Describe the processes of terraforming that Sagan outlines for Mars and the moon Titan.

2) Discuss the moral aspects of the effort of terraforming, and summarize Sagan's views on the issue.

3) Describe, according to information and arguments from the book, some of the benefits that the human species as a whole would reap through the wholesale terraforming of another planet.

Essay Topic 3

At the time this book was written, about 200 large asteroids were known to have orbits that would take them close to Earth. Asteroids have caused major catastrophes in the past and could be a threat in the future.

1) Describe how Earth-bound asteroids are identified and tracked.

2) Discuss the danger that asteroids pose to the Earth and some of the catastrophes that major impacts have brought about in the past.

3) Explain some of the methods that Sagan discusses in the book for dealing with Earth-bound asteroids.

(see the answer keys)

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