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. In what year did humans visit the moon for the last time?

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

3. It is believed that some of Saturn's rings may eventually form into what?

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

5. Sagan worries about how societies of what type would handle the technology that could stop Earth-bound asteroids?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Sagan believe black holes have to offer?

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

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

4. How is Venus different from Earth?

5. What resources does Sagan believe that carbon asteroids have that make them suitable for human habitation?

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

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

8. What types of strategies are most practical for stopping an Earth-bound asteroid?

9. What does Sagan want to see on Mars?

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

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

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 3

Terraforming is the process of modifying and entire planet to make it more hospitable for human life.

1) Describe the processes of terraforming that Sagan outlines for Mars and the moon Titan.

2) Discuss the moral aspects of the effort of terraforming, and summarize Sagan's views on the issue.

3) Describe, according to information and arguments from the book, some of the benefits that the human species as a whole would reap through the wholesale terraforming of another planet.

(see the answer keys)

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