Planets Practice Test
Planets Practice Test
A good score is at least 30 correct. Answers are provided at the end. It is best to have a friend check your score the first time so that you won’t memorize the answers if you want to take the test again.
1. The polar ice caps of Mars consist of
(a) methane and ammonia ice.
(b) frozen nitrogen.
(c) frozen water and carbon dioxide.
(d) white sand exposed by the action of dust storms.
(e) clouds in the upper atmosphere.
2. A shepherd moon
(a) tends to grow in size by accumulating stray meteors and comets.
(b) acts to keep a planetary ring from spreading out.
(c) has several smaller moons orbiting around it.
(d) gets its name from the fact that shepherds once used it to keep track of their sheep.
(e) is another name for a full moon.
3. If an object reflects one-quarter of the light that strikes it, then its albedo is approximately
4. The notion that the Earth is a huge, living cell is known as
(a) the geobiological theory.
(b) the Gaia hypothesis.
(c) the tidal theory.
(d) the geogenetic theory.
(e) Nothing! No one has ever had such an idea.
5. The full phase of an inferior planet takes place at and near
(a) superior conjunction.
(b) inferior conjunction.
(c) superior opposition.
(d) inferior opposition.
(e) No time; inferior planets never appear in full phase.
6. The Roche limit of a planet is
(a) the smallest orbital radius a moon can have without being broken up by the parent planet’s gravity.
(b) the minimum temperature at which oxygen in the atmosphere of a planet can exist in a gaseous state.
(c) the maximum axial tilt a planet can have in order to be a hospitable place for the evolution of life.
(d) the smallest radius a planet can have and still manage to hold down an atmosphere.
(e) the maximum amount of ultraviolet radiation that can reach a planet’s surface without killing the living things on it.
7. Deimos is
(a) one of the moons of Mars.
(b) one of the volcanoes on Mars.
(c) the highland region on Venus.
(d) one of the moons of Venus.
(e) one of the moons of Mercury.
8. The Sun is closest to Earth during the southern-hemispheric
(e) Irrelevant! The Sun is always the same distance from the Earth.
9. The layer of Earth just beneath the crust is called the
(a) basaltic layer.
(b) ferromagnetic layer.
(d) outer core.
(e) volcanic layer.
10. The so-called greenhouse gases
(a) help heat to escape from a planet.
(b) increase ultraviolet radiation reaching a planet’s surface.
(c) block ultraviolet radiation.
(d) tend to trap heat in a planet’s atmosphere.
(e) keep Earth from becoming like Venus.
11. Ozone gas is known for its
(a) tendency to block ultraviolet radiation.
(b) environmentally destructive effects.
(c) greenhouse properties.
(d) role in the ice ages.
(e) presence in low-level clouds.
12. The lack of a substantial magnetic field around Mars
(a) allows the existence of an ionosphere similar to that of Earth.
(b) allows an ozone layer to form in the Martian atmosphere.
(c) lets high-speed subatomic solar particles reach the surface.
(d) is the result of a magnetically polarized iron and nickel core.
(e) is the result of intense volcanic activity.
13. Uranus is
(a) about one-quarter the diameter of Earth.
(b) slightly smaller than Earth.
(c) about the same diameter as Earth.
(d) slightly larger than Earth.
(e) about four times the diameter of Earth.
14. On an Earth desert at high altitude, the temperature difference between day and night is considerable because
(a) sand retains heat well.
(b) the wind blows hard.
(c) sand does not retain heat well.
(d) there is almost no wind.
(e) the air is thick.
15. The orbit of Venus is
(a) retrograde with respect to the orbits of the other planets.
(b) nearly a perfect circle.
(c) slanted at 98 degrees relative to Earth’s orbit.
(d) an eccentric ellipse.
(e) in sync with its rotation, so it always keeps the same side facing the Sun.
16. A manned space vessel would not be advised to enter a low orbit around Jupiter because
(a) the temperature is extremely low.
(b) there is not enough sunlight to navigate.
(c) the radiation reaches dangerous or deadly levels.
(d) there is no ozone layer.
(e) the planet spins rapidly on its axis.
17. Which of the following pairs of planets are both closer to the Sun than Mars?
(a) Mercury and Earth
(b) Earth and Saturn
(c) Saturn and Uranus
(d) Venus and Jupiter
(e) Earth and Neptune
18. The atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus
(a) is near zero because Venus has almost no atmosphere.
(b) is somewhat less than the pressure at the surface of Earth.
(c) is about the same as the pressure at the surface of Earth.
(d) is slightly greater than the pressure at the surface of Earth.
(e) is much greater than the pressure at the surface of Earth.
19. Which of the following pairs of planets are almost exactly the same size?
(a) Mercury and Jupiter
(b) Venus and Mars
(c) Mars and Jupiter
(d) Uranus and Neptune
(e) Neptune and Pluto
20. When Jupiter is at inferior conjunction,
(a) it appears full.
(b) it appears half full.
(c) it appears as a crescent.
(d) it transits the Sun.
(e) No! Jupiter never attains an inferior conjunction.
21. On a long journey in interplanetary space, artificial gravity might be provided by
(a) special pressure suits.
(b) vigorous daily exercise.
(c) rotation of the living quarters in the vessel.
(d) a massive slab of metal in the back of the ship.
(e) Nothing; there is no such thing as artificial gravity.
22. The term precession refers to
(a) the distortion of the geomagnetic field by the solar wind.
(b) the variation of Jupiter’s rotation rate with latitude.
(c) the wobbling of the Moon so that we see more than half of it over time.
(d) the wobbling of Earth’s axis over long periods of time.
(e) the ionization of Earth’s upper atmosphere.
23. A caldera is
(a) a mountain.
(b) a valley.
(c) an escarpment.
(d) a dried-up riverbed.
(e) a volcanic crater.
24. On the planet Venus, Ishtar is
(a) a highland region.
(b) a volcano.
(c) a crater.
(d) an escarpment.
(e) another name for the cloud deck.
25. The layer of Earth’s atmosphere in which weather occurs is known as the
26. Since the formation of the Solar System, the interior of Mars is believed to have cooled off faster than the interior of Earth because
(a) Mars is farther from the Sun than is Earth.
(b) Mars has a thinner atmosphere than does Earth.
(c) Mars rotates faster than Earth.
(d) the surface-area-to-volume ratio is larger than that of Earth because Mars itself is smaller.
(e) No! Mars is believed to have cooled off more slowly than the Earth.
27. The light regions in Jupiter’s atmosphere, as seen through a telescope on Earth or from a great distance away in space, are
(a) whitecaps on the liquid surface.
(c) the tops of high clouds.
(d) blowing sand.
(e) volcanic eruptions.
28. Some scientists think that the Pluto-Charon system ought to be classified as
(a) an asteroid.
(b) a star.
(c) a double comet.
(d) a ring system.
(e) a shepherd moon.
29. Mercury does not often present itself well for observation because
(a) it is extremely small.
(b) it is extremely dense.
(c) it is close to the Sun.
(d) it is far from the Sun.
(e) it always shows us its dark side.
30. The temperature on the dark side of Mars
(a) is below 0°C.
(b) is about the same as the temperature on the daylight side.
(c) is a comfortable room temperature.
(d) is hot enough to melt lead.
(e) is near absolute zero.
31. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is
(a) a volcano.
(b) a mountaintop.
(c) an escarpment.
(d) a crater.
(e) a weather system.
32. The upper clouds of Venus rush around the planet, completing one revolution in approximately
(a) one Venus day.
(b) one Venus year.
(c) 24 Earth hours.
(d) four Earth days.
(e) No! Venus has no clouds.
33. Saturn’s brightness, as we see it from Earth, is affected by
(a) the angle at which Saturn’s rings are presented to us.
(b) the distance of Saturn from the Sun.
(c) the tilt of Saturn on its axis.
(d) the temperature on Saturn’s surface.
(e) the distance of Earth from the Sun.
34. The most abundant gas in Earth’s atmosphere is
(d) carbon dioxide.
35. An escarpment is
(a) a crater.
(b) a volcano.
(c) a tiny planetary moon.
(d) a moon that has escaped from a planet.
(e) a cliff.
36. The butterfly effect is another name for the fact that
(a) minor events always have small consequences.
(b) major events always have large consequences.
(c) minor events never have any consequences.
(d) seemingly insignificant events can have large consequences.
(e) life cannot exist on Mars.
37. When Mars is at an ideal opposition,
(a) it is closer to Earth than at any other time.
(b) it is farther from Earth than at any other time.
(c) it is brighter than Venus.
(d) it is invisible because the light of the Sun washes it out.
(e) it appears in a crescent phase.
38. The most abundant gas in the atmosphere of Mars is
(d) carbon dioxide.
(e) carbon monoxide.
39. Which of the following planets has not been observed to have rings?
40. Mercury is believed to have a core consisting of
(c) solid metallic hydrogen.
(d) molten silicate rock.
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