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 does Sagan describe his reaction to the difficulties in detecting human life and intelligence on Earth from space?

2. What is notable about the stars in Sagan's distant picture of the Earth?

3. Sagan describes humans as which of the following, with respect to their arrival in the universe?

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

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 problems does NASA face in pursuing its missions?

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

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

4. How are the Voyager spacecraft able to travel quickly to distant planets?

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

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

7. How did ancient people know about the planets?

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

9. Why did ancient people believe there could not be any other planets beyond the ones they knew about?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sagan discusses the a manned mission to Mars as a desirable first step in extending the human race out beyond the Earth but identifies many practical problems with any proposed plan.

1) Explain why Sagan believes that a manned mission should be sent to the planet Mars.

2) Discuss some of the proposals for such a mission, what their aims would be, and how they would be carried out technically.

3) Describe the practical difficulties that Sagan outlines and how they could be overcome.

Essay Topic 2

The geocentric theory of the solar system stated that the sun, the moon, and the planets orbit around the Earth. This world-view was formally endorsed for more than fifteen hundred years, but was eventually shattered by the heliocentric theory.

1) Explain the geocentric theory, including the details of its layout for the solar system and how it accounted for some of the abnormalities in the orbits of the planets.

2) Discuss the origin of this theory and how it came to be embraced by scholars and religious leaders alike.

3) Describe some of the shortcomings of this theory, according to Sagan's arguments.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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