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 scientist is well-known for writing about the differences between species of animals?

2. Which other nation besides the United States led the way in space exploration?

3. Titan orbits what planet?

4. How likely does Sagan think it is that the records on Voyager will eventually be found?

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

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

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

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

7. What may have happened to other planets from the early solar system?

8. What was Sagan's involvement in the passage of Mars by the Viking probe?

9. How was Sagan involved in discoveries about Titan?

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

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

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

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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