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. Sagan uses what term to describe a theology that requires God to intentionally mislead human scientists?

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

3. What is Neptune's largest moon?

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

5. According to Sagan, when viewed from space, how apparent would the existence of life on Earth be?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What undesirable features of human activity might be easily noticed from space?

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

6. When this book was written, what was known about planets in other solar systems?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Neptune is the most distant planet in the solar system.

1) Describe how Neptune was discovered.

2) Discuss and explain some of Neptune's distinguishing characteristics, including its warmth and Jupiter-like atmosphere.

3) Summarize Sagan's assessment of the planet an its importance in the field of space exploration. Why was it visited by the Voyager probes?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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