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. One feature that Sagan suggests would be easier to detect that human intelligence would be flatulence from what kind of animal?

2. As of 1990, how many planets did the Voyager craft explore?

3. Titan orbits what planet?

4. The "great demotions" are changes in thinking about the status of what?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How could Dermott's calculations about Titan be confirmed?

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

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

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

7. What are the "great demotions" that Sagan refers to?

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

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

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

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

The Apollo Missions had an enormous impact on the field of space exploration, on the international status of the United States, and on the public's interest in space and science in general.

1) Describe the Apollo moon landings, their operation, mission, and the scientific information gained from them.

2) Discuss the effect that Sagan says the landings had on the international standing of the United States.

3) Explain how the moon landings impacted the field of space exploration and sparked the public's interest in the field. Cite Sagan's arguments to explain specific ways that this occurred.

Essay Topic 3

Volcanoes are quite common and relatively active on Earth, and can be observed on solid planetary bodies throughout the solar system.

1) Describe the process of volcanism in general, its causes, and its impact on the environment.

2) Discuss the function and nature of volcanoes on Earth and how they interact with the upper atmosphere and eject particles into space.

3) Describe some of the known active or dormant volcano system observed on other planets and moons.

(see the answer keys)

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