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Contemporary's GED Science

Space Science

# GED Practice Quiz

## Directions:

Choose the one best answer to each question. When you have finished the quiz, click on Submit Answers to receive feedback and results. You may also choose to e-mail your results to your instructor.

Question 1 refers to the following information.

Modern astronomy is said to have started with Nicolaus Copernicus in the sixteenth century. He pointed out that the Sun, not Earth, was the central body in the solar system. This knowledge gave later scientists, like Tycho Brahe, a basis for describing the motions of the bodies in the system.

Johannes Kepler studied Brahe’s data and formulated three laws of planetary motion:
1. Planetary orbits are elliptical.
2. The closer a planet is to the Sun, the faster it moves around the Sun.
3. The size of a planet's orbit is related to the amount of time it takes to orbit the Sun. The larger the orbit, the longer one full revolution takes.

Kepler did not try to explain the forces that acted on planets. In the seventeenth century, Isaac Newton explained why the planets move as they do by writing his laws of motion and gravitation.

 1 Before Copernicus' time, what did people MOST LIKELY believe about the Sun? A) The Sun is the center of the universe. B) The Sun controls the motions of Earth. C) The Sun controls the motions of the stars. D) The Sun revolves around Earth. E) The Sun moves in no particular pattern.

Questions 2 through 4 refer to the following information.

Returning a spacecraft to Earth intact is a difficult operation. How can the craft be slowed down for landing? The ideal method would be to use braking rockets similar to those used to launch the craft. Unfortunately, this type of braking system would require putting a gigantic rocket into orbit simply to land the spaceship.

All spacecraft so far have used an aerodynamic system—one that uses Earth’s atmosphere as a brake. This method relies on the physical law that an object will come to rest only when its kinetic energy—energy of motion—is converted to some other form of energy, such as light, sound, or heat.

A spacecraft moving 18,000 miles per hour contains an enormous amount of kinetic energy. This energy is converted mainly into heat as the craft plows back into Earth’s atmosphere, and friction with the air begins to slow it down. Space engineers developed several ways to remove this heat so that the spacecraft would not burn up: (1) A heat shield in front of the craft heats up to several hundred degrees Celsius and radiates heat back into the air. (2) Part of the outside shell of the craft is burned off as the shell absorbs the heat. (3) The surface of the craft heats up the air in contact with it, leaving behind a stream of hot air.

Although the aerodynamic landing system is not ideal, it will be used for a long time because it is less costly and more fuel-efficient than other braking systems.

 2 According to the passage, what must be true if a space vehicle is to stop? A) The spacecraft’s kinetic energy must be reduced to zero. B) The spaceship must absorb atmospheric heat. C) The vehicle must absorb heat, light, and sound energy. D) A landing rocket must be launched to release heat energy. E) Heat energy of the air must change into other forms of energy. 3 According to the passage, braking rockets could slow down and stop a landing spaceship. When would such a braking rocket be necessary? A) for a spaceship landing on a faraway planet B) for a spaceship landing on a planet with a strong pull of gravity C) for a spaceship landing on a planet with a cold surface D) for a spaceship landing on a planet with no atmosphere E) for a spaceship landing on Earth under adverse weather conditions 4 Which of the following statements from the passage indicates that values influence people’s behavior and decisions? A) Aerodynamic braking will be used for a long time because of its fuel economy and low cost. B) Returning a spacecraft to Earth is difficult. C) Kinetic energy must be converted to other energy forms. D) The successful reentry of a spacecraft into Earth’s atmosphere depends on physical principles. E) Power braking would require carrying a large rocket to land the spaceship.

Question 5 refers to the following information.

A meteor is usually a small rock from space that enters Earth’s atmosphere and burns up, causing a bright streak of light across the sky. The graph shows the number of meteors a group of amateur astronomers observed during one night.
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 5 Which of the following statements BEST summarizes the information in the graph? A) Many more meteors were sighted during the hours after midnight. B) Midnight to one o’clock is the peak hour for sighting meteors. C) Fewer than fifty meteors were sighted each hour. D) The number of meteors varies greatly from hour to hour. E) No pattern is apparent in the number of meteors that can be sighted in a single evening. 6 A news article reporting the discovery of a galaxy gives the following information: The galaxy is about 12 billion light-years from Earth. (A light-year is the distance a light ray travels in a year.) Analysis of the light from this galaxy reveals that it is composed mainly of hydrogen gas and a few young stars. A person who knows very little about astronomy reads this article and thinks that the galaxy is actually forming today. Which of the following statements helps explain that the person does not fully understand the report? A) Analysis of light from a long distance is not a reliable technique. B) The new galaxy can be seen using only very powerful optical telescopes. C) The galaxy formed 12 billion years ago, and its light is only now reaching Earth. D) Stars are formed primarily from hydrogen gas. E) Most galaxies formed billions of years ago.

Questions 7 and 8 refer to the following information.

It may sound odd, but scientists can tell what gases surround a planet by looking for light that isn’t there! The visible light from the Sun is a mixture of wavelengths. It produces a continuous band of colors from red and orange through yellow and green and on to blue and violet. Scientists use instruments called spectrographs to study the light from planets. The spectroscope separates white light into the colors that make up the light. However, there are usually dark lines in the spectrum of a planet. The dark lines show which wavelengths of light are absorbed by the gases in a planet’s atmosphere. A spectrum with these identifying dark lines is called an absorption spectra. Each element produces a specific, unique, pattern of dark lines. Below are a continuous spectrum and an absorption spectrum for hydrogen.

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The hydrogen spectra has dark lines at the violet end of the spectrum at 4.1 × 10-5 cm, 4.3, × 10-5 cm, a blue-green line at 4.8 × 10-5 cm and a line in the red part of the spectrum at 6.6 × 10-5 cm.

 7 According the passage, which of the following statements is true? A) Planets are different colors. B) Planets can be identified by their color spectrum. C) Gases in a planet’s atmosphere can be identified by their absorption spectra. D) Only stars are different colors. E) White light is sometimes missing light of specific wavelength. 8 Which of the following hypotheses is BEST supported by the information given in the passage? A) Visible light can be used to identify planets. B) The dark lines in a spectrum occur because light is reflected from the source. C) If a source has dark lines 4.1 × 10-5 cm, 4.3, × 10-5 cm, 4.8 × 10-5 cm, and 6.6 × 10-5 cm, then the source contains only hydrogen. D) If a source has only four dark lines in the visible spectrum, then the source is made of hydrogen. E) If a source has only four dark lines in the visible spectrum, and they are at 4.1 × 10-5 cm, 4.3, × 10-5 cm, 4.8 × 10-5 cm, and 6.6 × 10-5 cm, then the source contains hydrogen.

Questions 9 and 10 refer to the following information.

Space may still be vast, but it can no longer be called "empty." At the beginning of this century, space was crowded with junk and garbage left behind by forty years of space exploration. Items as large as abandoned satellites and as small as nuts and bolts have been dumped into space. The biggest problem is that this junk is moving—it travels at speeds up to 7.5 kilometers per second, fast enough that a collision can vaporize metal. Even a 0.5-centimeter paint flake could punch a fist-sized hole in the shuttle’s crew compartment or wing.

Radar systems on the ground can detect debris larger than a volleyball. When it looks as if debris might collide with the space station or other occupied satellite, astronauts maneuver their ships to avoid collision. While researchers design ways to remove the junk from space, the international community is currently taking steps to send less junk into space in the first place.

9

Which of the following can be concluded from the information in the passage?
A)Space junk poses a life-and-death risk to astronauts.
B)Small pieces of space junk are harmless.
C)Large pieces of space junk will eventually fall to Earth.
D)Volleyball-sized pieces of junk will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
E)Volleyball-sized junk cannot be tracked by NASA or other space authorities.
10

Which of the following statements CANNOT be inferred from the passage?

 I. Astronauts will always be able to maneuver out of the way of space junk. II. Lasers can be used to zap junk and turn it into tiny particles. III. Bringing the space junk out of orbit and into Earth’s atmosphere will allow it to burn up. IV. The international space community must take responsibility for creating less space junk.

A)I
B)I and III
C)III and IV
D)I and II
E)I, II, and III