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. How many planets were known to ancient people?

2. How fast was Voyager I moving in 1990?

3. At the time this book was written, how many planets were known to exist around other stars?

4. Sagan suggest that modern religious thinking treats scientific evidence in what way?

5. What are the records on the Voyager craft engraved in?

Short Essay Questions

1. What advantage make it more likely that the Voyager records will eventually be found?

2. How has the attitude of the Catholic church towards Galileo changed over time?

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

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

5. Why is it difficult to detect intelligent life on Earth?

6. As of 1990, what had the Voyager spacecraft achieved?

7. Why does Sagan believe that the image of the "pale blue dot" undermined the "imagined self-importance" of humanity?

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

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

10. What questions does Sagan say he intends to address in this book?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The heliocentric theory was developed by Copernicus, Galileo, and others, and uprooted the dogmatically endorsed geocentric theory, forever changing the nature of scientific thought in the West.

1) Describe heliocentric theory and the scientists who proposed and developed it.

2) Explain some of the abnormalities and observations that lent support to the heliocentric theory.

3) Discuss the reasons that Sagan believes heliocentric theory was opposed by the church.

4) Describe the impact of the victory of the heliocentric theory over the geocentric model on scientific thinking in the West.

Essay Topic 2

Sagan presents a thought experiment in Chapter 5, "Is There Intelligent Life on Earth?" He suggests that the observations that a visiting alien might make of Earth would not necessarily reveal the presence of intelligent life.

1) Discuss the thought experiment that Sagan proposes in Chapter 5, and describe the obvious characteristics of the Earth from the perspective of this visitor.

2) Describe the types of observations a visitor to Earth would have to make in order to determine the presence of intelligent life on the planet.

3) Explain how this thought experiment demonstrates Sagan's point about "missing" important details in the search for life in the solar system.

Essay Topic 3

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.

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