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 hazard threatened the Voyager craft in Sagan's plan to take a distant picture of Earth?

2. What did ancient people notice about planets that set them apart from the stars?

3. What was the state of the knowledge and belief about life on other planets at the time the book was written?

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

5. When probes enter the atmospheres of other planets, what color do they often see the sky to be?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Mars is Earth's nearest neighbor and the best candidate for human exploration and settlement.

1) Explain some of the characteristics of the planet Mars, including those that make it a good candidate for human colonization.

2) Discuss the indicators on Mars that suggest to Sagan that life could be found on the planet.

3) Describe the process that Sagan discusses which would be necessary to terraform Mars.

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

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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