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. About how long does Sagan suggest that human beings have been "settled down"?

2. In what century was the geocentric theory conclusively disproved?

3. How old does Sagan state that "fundamentalist monotheists" believe the Earth to be?

4. Besides the Voyager spacecraft, what does Sagan cite as a major triumph by NASA?

5. William Herschel, the discoverer of Uranus, had what unusual profession?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What message do the Voyager craft carry with them from Earth?

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

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

5. What does Sagan believe about the intelligence of the Voyager spacecraft.

6. What contributed to the formation of the first microbes on Earth?

7. What problems does NASA face in pursuing its missions?

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

9. How did ancient people know about the planets?

10. What would be the first things an alien visitor to Earth would notice about the planet?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the most Earth-like of all of the moons in the solar system, making it a good candidate for finding extraterrestrial life.

1) Describe the characteristics of the moon Titan, including a discussion of its atmosphere and hydrocarbon lakes.

2) Assess the specific characteristics of the moon that make it suitable for life.

3) Discuss Sagan's personal involvement in the study of Titan, its importance to him, and why he believes the moon warrants further study.

Essay Topic 3

In Chapter 1, Sagan discusses in detail the photo of the "pale blue dot" for which he named this book. He regards it as a singular and impressive symbol of man's place in the universe.

1) Describe how the photo of the "pale blue dot" was taken, the risks involved, and how Sagan was personally involved in its creation.

2) Describe the photo itself, using details from the book.

3) Explain how Sagan thinks that this photo demonstrates part of the triumph of the Voyager spacecraft.

4) Discuss in detail the meaning of this photo to Sagan and what it says to him about man's place in the universe.

(see the answer keys)

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