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# The Search for Extraterrestrial Life Practice Problems

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By McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 17, 2011

Review the following concepts if needed:

## The Search for Extraterrestrial Life Practice Problems

A good score is 8 correct. Answers are given at the end.

1. Tau Ceti is a notable star

(a) because it emits a large amount of energy at 21 cm.

(b) because it has several known Earthlike planets.

(c) in the sense that it has been closely examined by SETI scientists.

(d) for no reason.

2. The hydrogen emission wavelength of 21 cm might be used by extraterrestrial civilizations as

(a) a reference wavelength for space communications by radio.

(b) a means of eliminating a planetary energy crisis.

(c) a method of obtaining high-speed propulsion for space ships.

(d) nothing; it is a logical wavelength to avoid.

3. The product of all the variables in the Drake equation stands for

(a) the number of advanced civilizations in our galaxy.

(b) the number of planets in our Solar System that have life on them.

(c) the number of stars in the Universe that have planets.

(d) the probability that extraterrestrial life exists.

4. Suppose that a biological cell is capable of replicating itself and does so exactly once every 24 hours. If we start with one cell, how many cells will we have after 7 days, assuming that none of the cells die?

(a) 14

(b) 32

(c) 64

(d) 128

5. Suppose that the scenario described in the preceding question is allowed to go on for an indefinite time. Suppose also that the cells can supply their own food by photosynthesis. What will eventually limit the growth of the population of cells?

(a) The intensity of the light from the Sun

(b) The amount of available physical space on the planet

(c) The temperature

(d) The length of the growing season

6. The value of L in the Drake equation depends on

(a) how soon, or if, technologically advanced civilizations die off or annihilate themselves.

(b) how far a planet orbits from its parent star.

(c) the tilt of a planet on its axis.

(d) the proportion of stars that have planets with conditions suitable for life.

7. The purpose of SETI is

(a) to travel to other worlds.

(b) to encourage space aliens to land on Earth.

(c) to figure out what unidentified flying objects actually are.

(d) to find conclusive evidence of an advanced civilization on another planet.

8. The impact of a small asteroid on a planet

(a) can cause massive species extinctions.

(b) can spur the emergence of new species.

(c) can cause a change in the planet’s climate.

(d) More than one of the above

9. The gloomy scenarios painted by Thomas Malthus for the population of a dominant species can be avoided by

(a) finding new ways to grow food.

(b) reproducing as much as possible.

(c) population control.

(d) food rationing.

10. Which of the following is not one of the necessary conditions for a material thing to be generally considered alive?

(a) The ability to make copies of itself

(b) The ability to create order from chaos

(c) The ability to live forever

(d) A finite lifespan

1. C

2. A

3. A

4. D

5. B

6. A

7. D

8. D

9. C

10. C

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