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 says that the dark matter that surrounds the Milky Way galaxy takes what shape?

3. When did a "disrupted" comet famously fall into Jupiter?

4. How old are the terrain features generated by Venus' volcanoes?

5. What hazard from nuclear weapons causes "nuclear winter"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Why does Sagan believe that America sent men to the moon?

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

7. What does Sagan believe would be necessary for the safety of the human race to be secured?

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

9. How is Venus similar to Earth?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

In Chapter 1, Sagan discusses in detail the photo of the "pale blue dot" for which he named this book. He regards it as a singular and impressive symbol of man's place in the universe.

1) Describe how the photo of the "pale blue dot" was taken, the risks involved, and how Sagan was personally involved in its creation.

2) Describe the photo itself, using details from the book.

3) Explain how Sagan thinks that this photo demonstrates part of the triumph of the Voyager spacecraft.

4) Discuss in detail the meaning of this photo to Sagan and what it says to him about man's place in the universe.

(see the answer keys)

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