Planets And Life: How Much Do You Know About Solar System?

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Planets And Life: How Much Do You Know About Solar System?

Are you learning about planets and life? How much do you know about the solar system? In basic terms, the solar system is made up of the sun and the bodies that orbit around it. Not everything we know about our solar system, but there are some essential facts one is expected to know. Do take the quiz below and get to see how informed you actually are!


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    What is the definition of a star's habitable zone?
    • A. 

      The range of distances from the star where liquid water can be stable on the surface of a suitable planet 

    • B. 

      The range of distances from the star where planets with life have been detected

    • C. 

      The range of distances from the star where organic molecules can be stable on the surface of a suitable planet

    • D. 

      The range of distances from the star where rocky planets can form

  • 2. 
    Most of the water that used to be present in the Venusian atmosphere
    • A. 

      Was blasted into space by impacts

    • B. 

      Became chemically incorporated into rocks in the crust

    • C. 

      Was destroyed in the atmosphere by ultraviolet light from the Sun 

    • D. 

      Escaped into space

  • 3. 
    Evidence for the loss of water from the atmosphere of Venus via the action of ultraviolet light comes from the
    • A. 

      Observation of auroras high in the Venusian atmosphere caused by the action of ultraviolet light on water molecules

    • B. 

      Observation of an excess of heavy hydrogen (deuterium) atoms in the atmosphere which are less easily able to escape once the water is broken apart 

    • C. 

       observation of an ozone layer in the atmosphere which is formed from the breakup of water molecules by ultraviolet radiation

    • D. 

       fact that today, water is found only in the upper atmosphere of Venus

  • 4. 
    If the Earth were to be moved to where Venus is today,
    • A. 

      The oceans would evaporate slightly producing a slightly warmer, more humid planet

    • B. 

      The oceans would evaporate, blocking light from the Sun and causing global temperatures to fall

    • C. 

      Carbon dioxide would be released from the oceans leading to higher temperatures but liquid water could still exist on the surface

    • D. 

       the oceans would evaporate and carbonate rocks would decompose producing a runaway greenhouse effect much more severe than the one that exists on Venus today 

  • 5. 
    Around 4 billion years ago Venus could have been more Earth-like with liquid water on its surface because
    • A. 

      The Sun was dimmer so Venus would have received less radiation 

    • B. 

      Venus was farther from the Sun

    • C. 

      Its atmosphere was thinner

    • D. 

      Venus has a protective magnetic field

  • 6. 
    If life is present on Venus today, it will most likely be
    • A. 

      Hyperthermaphiles found on the surface

    • B. 

       found in the atmosphere where droplets of water can be found 

    • C. 

      Endoliths living beneath the crust where liquid water may still be present

    • D. 

       inside large rocks that are protected from the heat

  • 7. 
     A star more luminous than our Sun will have a habitable zone that is
    • A. 

      Wider and closer to the star than the habitable zone of the Sun

    • B. 

      Narrower and closer to the star than the habitable zone of the Sun

    • C. 

      Wider and farther from the star than the habitable zone of the Sun 

    • D. 

      Narrower and farther from the star than the habitable zone of the Sun

  • 8. 
    Stars much less luminous than the Sun have
    • A. 

      Narrower habitable zones, decreasing the odds of finding habitable planets and lifetimes too short for life to appear

    • B. 

      Wider habitable zones, increasing the odds of finding habitable planets and much longer lifetimes allowing life to appear and evolve

    • C. 

      Narrower habitable zones, decreasing the odds of finding habitable planets but much longer lifetimes allowing life to appear and evolve 

    • D. 

      Wider habitable zones, increasing the odds of finding habitable planets but lifetimes too short for life to appear

  • 9. 
    Even though low luminosity stars have narrow habitable zones and hence are less likely to have planets within these zones, they make up for this shortcoming by virtue of the fact that
    • A. 

      They are very common

    • B. 

      They have very long lifetimes

    • C. 

      Planets are much more likely to form around them

    • D. 

      Planets around those stars can only form in their habitable zones

  • 10. 
    Which of the following factors influence the surface habitability of a planet?
    • A. 

      Distance from parent star

    • B. 

      Presence of an atmosphere

    • C. 

      Planetary size

    • D. 

      All of these

  • 11. 
    The moist greenhouse effect refers to
    • A. 

      The point at which water is evaporating from the surface at a faster rate than it is condensing 

    • B. 

      The warming process by which water vapor rises into the upper atmosphere above the ozone layer where it is then broken apart by ultraviolet radiation

    • C. 

       the natural greenhouse effect due to clouds of water vapor in the lower atmosphere

    • D. 

      An enhanced greenhouse effect above tropical regions of the Earth's surface

  • 12. 
    Europa is located outside the Sun's habitable zone and yet may be habitable. How can this be?
    • A. 

      Europa is continually being hit by comets and asteroids which keeps water beneath its surface liquid

    • B. 

      Europa's subsurface ocean contains lots of minerals that allow water to remain liquid at much lower temperatures

    • C. 

      Europa is large enough to have appreciable heat trapped inside it to keep water beneath the surface liquid

    • D. 

      Europa is tidally heated, allowing liquid water to exist beneath its icy surface 

  • 13. 
    If we allow for a planet with a thick atmosphere and a strong greenhouse effect, the outer boundary of the Sun's habitable zone would be
    • A. 

       just inside the orbit of Mars

    • B. 

      Well beyond the orbital distance of Mars 

    • C. 

      At exactly the current orbital distance of Mars

    • D. 

      Roughly halfway between the orbits of the Earth and Mars

  • 14. 
     If we allow for a planet with an atmosphere lacking greenhouse gases or dust, the outer boundary of the Sun's habitable zone would be
    • A. 

      Well beyond the orbital distance of Mars

    • B. 

      Roughly halfway between the orbits of the Earth and Mars

    • C. 

      Just inside the orbit of Mars 

    • D. 

      At exactly the current orbital distance of Mars

  • 15. 
    Overall, the likelihood of finding planets in a star's habitable zone depends on the
    • A. 

      Distance from the star to the outer edge of the zone

    • B. 

      Distance from the star to the inner edge of the zone

    • C. 

       width of the zone 

    • D. 

      Distance from the outer edge of the zone to the nearest other star

  • 16. 
    Compared to today, in the future, the Sun's habitable zone will be
    • A. 

      Wider and closer to the Sun

    • B. 

      Wider and farther from the Sun

    • C. 

      Narrower and closer to the Sun

    • D. 

      Narrower and farther from the Sun

  • 17. 
    Why does the Sun brighten with time?
    • A. 

      As hydrogen is converted into helium in the core, the number of hydrogen nuclei decreases, decreasing the fusion rate. To maintain the balance with gravity pressing inward, the core compensates by expanding and cooling

    • B. 

      As time progresses, more and more heat is trapped inside the core, leading to an increase in brightness

    • C. 

      As hydrogen is converted into helium in the core, the number of hydrogen nuclei decreases, decreasing the fusion rate. To maintain the balance with gravity pressing inward, the core compensates by shrinking and heating up 

    • D. 

      As time progresses, helium starts to fuse in the core, in addition to hydrogen, leading to an increase in brightness

  • 18. 
    The range of distances that has remained habitable for the entire duration of the Sun's lifetime is referred to as the
    • A. 

      Habitable zone of consistency

    • B. 

      Zone of water stability

    • C. 

      Permanently habitable zone

    • D. 

      Continuously habitable zone 

  • 19. 
    According to conservative estimates, the end of habitability of Earth will come about
    • A. 

      A few hundred thousand years from now

    • B. 

      A billion years from now 

    • C. 

      100 million years from now

    • D. 

      3 to 4 billion years from now

  • 20. 
    The Moon is in the habitable zone of the Sun at the same distance as the Earth but is not habitable. How can this be?
    • A. 

      The Moon did have water on its surface in the past, but it was blasted off the surface by impacts

    • B. 

      The Moon has never had water on its surface at any time

    • C. 

       the Moon is too small to retain an atmosphere necessary for liquid water to be stable 

    • D. 

      The Moon did have water on its surface in the past, but it was destroyed by high energy particles from the Sun

  • 21. 
    When the Sun runs out of nuclear fuel and expands to become a red giant,
    • A. 

       the Earth will be ejected from the solar system

    • B. 

      The Earth will experience a runaway greenhouse effect followed by the total loss of its atmosphere 

    • C. 

      The Earth's oceans will freeze solid

    • D. 

       the Earth will be destroyed

  • 22. 
    The term 'global warming' refers to an increase in the average temperature
    • A. 

      At the equator

    • B. 

      At the poles

    • C. 

      Of the ozone layer

    • D. 

      Of the planet as a whole

  • 23. 
    Over the last century, global temperatures have risen by about
    • A. 

      2.0 oC

    • B. 

      3.2 oC

    • C. 

      0.8oC

    • D. 

      0.1oC

  • 24. 
    Measurements of carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere over the past 400,000 years show
    • A. 

      No correlation with global surface temperatures

    • B. 

       an indirect correlation with global surface temperatures

    • C. 

      A direct correlation with global surface temperatures, only over the past century 

    • D. 

      A direct correlation with global surface temperatures

  • 25. 
    The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration
    • A. 

      Is higher than it has been at any time during the last million years

    • B. 

      Is lower than it has been at any time during the last million years

    • C. 

      Has remained roughly constant during the last million years

    • D. 

      Is higher than it has been at any time during the Earth's history 

  • 26. 
    While there is no doubt that global temperatures are increasing, it is
    • A. 

      Now certain that human activity has no effect on the Earth's climate

    • B. 

      Still not clear whether human activity is affecting the climate at all

    • C. 

      Now becoming clear that this effect is due to the slow brightening of the Sun

    • D. 

      Now becoming clear that human activity is indeed causing global warming 

  • 27. 
     As global warming progresses, the
    • A. 

      Equatorial regions will warm the most

    • B. 

      Landmasses will warm the most

    • C. 

      Polar regions will warm the most 

    • D. 

      Oceans will warm the most

  • 28. 
    Apart from its distance from its parent star, what is the next most important factor that determines a planet's habitability?
    • A. 

      The size of a planet

    • B. 

      Whether it has a large moon

    • C. 

      The chemical composition of its surface

    • D. 

      The chemical composition of its atmosphere

  • 29. 
     The possible habitability of Mars today is mostly determined by
    • A. 

      The amount of heat it receives from the Sun

    • B. 

      The composition of its atmosphere

    • C. 

      Geological conditions existing beneath the surface

    • D. 

      The thickness of its atmosphere

  • 30. 
    Most of the carbon dioxide on Venus
    • A. 

      Is present in its atmosphere

    • B. 

      Has escaped into space

    • C. 

      Is trapped beneath the surface of the planet in gaseous form

    • D. 

      Is locked up in carbonate rocks in its crust

  • 31. 
    The three most important factors that determine surface temperature are:
    • A. 

      Distance from sun, albedo, rotation rate

    • B. 

      Nature of atmosphere, distance from Sun, albedo

    • C. 

      Albedo, nature of atmosphere, rotation rate

    • D. 

      Albedo, axial tilt, nature of atmosphere

  • 32. 
    Which of the following is currently in the Sun's HZ?
    • A. 

      Venus

    • B. 

      Mars

    • C. 

      Mercury

    • D. 

      Earth

  • 33. 
    Over time, as they age, the HZ of stars like our sun
    • A. 

      Move inward

    • B. 

      Remain the same

    • C. 

      Suddenly disappear

    • D. 

      Move outward

  • 34. 
    The Moon is in the HZ of the Sun at the same distance as Earth but it's not habitable. How can this be?
    • A. 

      The moon did have water on its surface in the past, but it was destroyed by high-energy particles from the Sun

    • B. 

      The moon has never had any water on its surface at any time

    • C. 

      The moon is too small to retain an atmosphere necessary for liquid water to be stable

    • D. 

      The moon did have water on its surface in the past, but it was blasted off the surface by impacts

  • 35. 
    Venus is completely inhospitable today for life on its surface primarily because:
    • A. 

      It has runaway greenhouse effect

    • B. 

      It formed without water

    • C. 

      It has moved too close to the Sun

    • D. 

      It has no moons

  • 36. 
    Which of the following is NOT a part of the carbon cycle on Earth?
    • A. 

      Precipitation removes CO2 from atmosphere into oceans

    • B. 

      Volcanism releases CO2 into atmosphere

    • C. 

      CO2 sublimates on aerosols in the atmospherw

    • D. 

      Subduction processes transfer the rocks into the crust

  • 37. 
    Apart from its distance from its parent star, what is the next most important factory that determines a planet's habitability?
    • A. 

      Whether it has a large moon

    • B. 

      The size of the planet

    • C. 

      The chemical composition of its atmosphere

    • D. 

      The chemical composition of its surface

  • 38. 
    If Venus had the same atmosphere as Earth, it would
    • A. 

      Only be slightly warmer

    • B. 

      Be at exactly the same temperature

    • C. 

      Be very much warmer

    • D. 

      Be slightly colder

  • 39. 
    What is NOT essential for a planet to be habitable?
    • A. 

      Must be in HZ

    • B. 

      Must have oxygen in atmosphere

    • C. 

      Must have magnetic field

    • D. 

      Must rotate relatively quickly

  • 40. 
    What is the current preferred solution to the Faint Young Sun paradox?
    • A. 

      There were more greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere in the past

    • B. 

      Earth was further from the Sun in the past

    • C. 

      Earth was closer to the Sun in the past

    • D. 

      The Sun wasn't actually fainter in the past

  • 41. 
    Between 1 and 3 billion yrs from now, scientists think that
    • A. 

      The atmosphere will be stripped by solar wind

    • B. 

      Earth will leave the solar system due to sun's diminishing gravity

    • C. 

      The oceans will evaporate due to the moist greenhouse effect

    • D. 

      The sun will become a red giant

  • 42. 
    Where did CO2 and H2O on Earth primarily come from?
    • A. 

      Planetesimals well beyond mars's orbit

    • B. 

      Nearby planetary nebulae

    • C. 

      Solar wind

    • D. 

      Planetesimals inside mars's orbit

  • 43. 
    The most critical scientific question associated with climate change on Earth is:
    • A. 

      Are there too many flatulent cattle on earth?

    • B. 

      Is the sun getting brighter with time?

    • C. 

      Does the atmospheric concentration of CO2 correlate with surface temp?

    • D. 

      Is the atmospheric concentration of CO2 casually related to surface temp?

    • E. 

      Is the earth-sun distance changing with time?

  • 44. 
    Which of the following is NOT true?
    • A. 

      CO2 concentrations are now higher than they have been in past million years

    • B. 

      Temperatures were below average from 1880-1930

    • C. 

      Temperatures were above (recent) avg in past 35 years

    • D. 

      Polar regions are warming faster than temperate and equatorial regions

    • E. 

      Penguin populations are threatened in the Arctic