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 is notable about pictures taken of the Earth from the moon?

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

3. What strange motion do all of the stars in the sky exhibit?

4. Who helped Sagan calculate that Titan should be host to oceans?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the problem of perspective in estimating the importance of human beings?

2. How was Sagan involved in discoveries about Titan?

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

4. What planets had been explored by human beings, at the time of the writing of this book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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.

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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