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 did Galileo demonstrate?

2. What was Neptune's position in the solar system as of the writing of this book?

3. What is unusual about Uranus's orientation?

4. How fast was Voyager I moving in 1990?

5. Where does Neptune fall in the mission plan for the Voyager probes?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How does Saga claim that human beings expressed their desire to wander as civilization grew?

5. Why does Saga say he is optimistic about the "human prospect"?

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

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

8. What aspects of science make it unappealing to some?

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

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 suggests that the colonization of distant worlds is both feasible and critical to humanity.

1) Explain how does Sagan envisions colonization of distant worlds occurring. What would be the motive for such efforts?

2) Discuss some of the targets that Sagan suggests for colonization, including non-planets.

3) Describe why Sagan believes that colonization is critical to securing the safety of the human race.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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