Traveling and Living in Space Practice Problems

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 18, 2011

Review the following concepts if needed:

Traveling and Living in Space Practice Problems

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

1. In one proposed spacecraft design, the hydrogen necessary for a nuclear-fusion-powered space vessel would be obtained from

(a) the surface of the Sun.

(b) interstellar space.

(c) moon rocks.

(d) the atmosphere of Jupiter or Saturn.


2. Which of the following propulsion systems, assuming that they all can be developed and used in space ships, will provide the most power for the least fuel mass?

(a) The ion engine

(b) The conventional rocket

(c) The matter-antimatter engine

(d) The nuclear fusion engine


3. Suppose that you are on a space ship bound for Mars and you observe a bright flare on the surface of the Sun. The most important thing you must do is

(a) take advantage of the extra energy by turning the ship’s solar panels to directly face the Sun.

(b) take cover in the ship’s radiation shelter.

(c) set the communication system to a frequency that will not be interfered with by the approaching magnetic storm.

(d) nothing special; carry on as usual.


4. Realistic telepresence spanning extremely long distances is

(a) not feasible because radio receivers and transmitters cannot be made sensitive or powerful enough.

(b) impractical because the speed of electromagnetic signals through space is only 299,792 km/s.

(c) unworkable because the necessary signal bandwidth is impossible to obtain.

(d) quite practical; there is no limit to the distance over which realistic telepresence can be accomplished.


5. Visitors to the moons of Jupiter will have to be especially aware of the peril presented by

(a) the planet’s gravitation.

(b) the planet’s poisonous atmosphere.

(c) radiation in the planet’s magnetosphere.

(d) none of the above; the Jupiter system will pose no special dangers.


6. One of the most common, and most powerful, arguments that some people make against space exploration cites the fact that

(a) the extraterrestrial planets and the stars cannot be reached because they are too far away.

(b) Earth is a perfectly fine place and it will last forever, so there will never be any need to venture into space.

(c) we ought to spend our limited resources to solve problems here on Earth before we spend money or energy on space programs.

(d) there is not likely to be life elsewhere in the Universe, so there is no point in wasting our time searching for it.


7. Overexposure to ionizing radiation such as gamma rays or cosmic particles is known to cause all the following except

(a) overeating, leading to obesity.

(b) genetic mutations.

(c) increased incidence of cancer.

(d) pointlike flashes in the field of vision.


8. Scientists are certain that if our species survives long enough we eventually will have to leave Earth and seek another place to live because

(a) the human population will become too great for Earth to support.

(b) Earth’s atmosphere will run out of oxygen.

(c) humans will develop an insatiable desire to travel in space.

(d) the Sun will not remain a life-sustaining star forever.


9. Ion engines are efficient, but they

(a) cause acceleration in bursts that would make space travel uncomfortable or dangerous.

(b) operate at extreme temperatures, requiring elaborate means to prevent the hardware from melting or vaporizing.

(c) produce extreme amounts of gamma rays, posing a hazard to the occupants of space ships in which they are used.

(d) do not produce very much thrust.


10. The Moon, the asteroids, and other planets’ moons are believed by some astronomers to contain plenty of

(a) natural resources such as minerals and metals.

(b) ozone to replenish the protective layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

(c) life forms to provide food for Earth’s population.

(d) land suitable for farming.



1. B

2. C

3. B

4. B

5. C

6. C

7. A

8. D

9. D

10. A

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