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. Why does Sagan say that Mars is a more desirable target for human exploration than the moon?

2. Sagan estimates that intelligent life might arise on average in one out of how many stars?

3. According to the plans Sagan discussed, how would nuclear weapons typically be used to stop an asteroid from colliding with the Earth?

4. Sagan suggests that ancient people did not think of the moon as which of the following?

5. How are chunks of Martian rock studied on Earth?

Short Essay Questions

1. What promising signs does Mars have for being host to life?

2. What does Sagan say that it is probably the fate of humanity to "live in the dark"?

3. What is the purpose of SETI and how does it operate?

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

5. How is Venus similar to Earth?

6. What profit motivations exist in a manned mission to Mars?

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

8. Why does Sagan suggest that space exploration aids in protecting the planet?

9. What is unusual about the surface of Venus?

10. What is unusual about the ring systems of the planets in our solar system?

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

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 regards the Voyager craft as triumphs of engineering and human ingenuity. These craft were designed to explore most of the planets in the solar system, and then to journey outwards from it to the stars.

1) Describe the Voyager craft, their missions, and capabilities. What planets were these craft intended to explore?

2) Discuss the differences between the Voyager mission and previous efforts in space exploration. How were these craft significantly different?

3) Explain Sagan's particular interest in the Voyager craft and why he believes them each to be a triumph.

4) Summarize some of the important observations that the Voyager craft made.

(see the answer keys)

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