Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space Test | Final 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. When did the belief that Venus was a "sister planet" to Earth become dispelled?

2. What is the shape of the galaxy closest to the Milky Way?

3. What is the farthest orbital location that humans have ventured to since the last time men went to the moon?

4. When does Sagan think that the human race will be "on its way"?

5. How far out does the solar corona die out?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Sagan believe that humanity will progress in the next hundred or so generations?

2. What is unusual about the surface of Venus?

3. What does Sagan conclude about the morality of terraforming and planetary colonization?

4. What location in the solar system either have or are believed to have once had volcanoes?

5. What would the process of "terraforming" on Mars be like?

6. How is Venus similar to Earth?

7. What major environmental catastrophes does Sagan warn against in Chapter 14, "Exploring Other Worlds and Protecting One"?

8. Why does Sagan believe it is unlikely that a manned mission to Mars will be carried out in the near future?

9. What does Sagan want to see on Mars?

10. What does Sagan think were the major upsides of the Apollo missions?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Much of Sagan's discussion in this book centers on the idea that human beings are wanderers by nature. He sees this aspect of the human character as obvious and critical.

1) Explain Sagan's conception of how and why early humans were wanderers.

2) Discuss the ways that Sagan believes human beings cope with the desire to wander in the setting of increasingly sedentary civilizations.

3) Discuss some of the endeavors in space exploration described in the book in terms of the human desire to wander and explore.

4) Explain Sagan's opinion about how humans will become nomadic wanderers again in the future.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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