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Astrobiology Quiz

Di culty level 5
1. Life on earth is based on, a) Carbon b) Oxygen c) Nitrogen 2. Genetic information in cells are stored and passed on to the next generation through, a) DNA b) Enzymes c) Proteins 3. Who was the famous scientists to conduct an experiment to simulate the conditions of primitive earth and demonstrate that amino acids, fatty acids and urea could be formed in nature? a) Charles Darwin b) Stanley Miller c) James Watson 4. What are 'stromatolites'? a) Fossil structures made by bacteria b) Type of meteorites that contain amino acids c) Primitive bacteria still found in deep sea beds 5. Apart from the earth, what is the most likely place to nd life in our solar system? a) Venus b) Mars c) Asteroids 6. A planet orbiting a small star cannot habour intelligent life because, a) The star has a short life span b) Planets will have unstable orbits c) The life zone is too close to the star 7. Planets around a binary star system is not suitable for development of intelligent life because the planets, a) Lie outside the life zone b) Have unstable orbits c) Do not form around binary stars

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8. What is the de nition of a life zone around a star? a) Temperature range in which water can exist in liquid form b) Area which can form an earth-size planet c) Area between the orbits of venus and mars 9. What is the equation used to estimate the number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy? a) SETI equation b) Carl Sagan equation c) Drake equation 10. What is the name of the argument which suggests that the universe is ' ne-tuned' to our existance? a) Anthropic principle b) Olber's paradox c) Harvey's paradox

ANSWERS
1. Carbon 2. DNA 3. Stanley Miller 4. Fossil structures made by bacteria 5. Mars 6. The life zone is too close to the star 7. Have unstable orbits 8. Temperature range in which water can exist in liquid form 9. Drake equation 10. Anthropic principle

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Answers in detail
All life on earth is carbon-based. Carbon has the ability to form long chains. Thus it is a key ingredient in proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids. Oxygen and nitrogen are important elements but it is carbon that forms the backbone.

1. Carbon

2. DNA

DNA carries the genetic information from one generation to another. Enzymes and proteins, do not

Stanley Miller was an American biologist who was famous for his experiments on origins of life. Chales Darwin suggested the theory of evolution from natural selection. James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA

3. Stanley Miller

4. Fossil structures made by bacteria

Stromatolites are some of the oldest fossils created by blue-green algae.

So far no evidence of life has been found beyond our planet. But Mars would be a likely candidate. But the lack of a magnetic eld and atmosphere means more cosmic rays are reaching the surface. So there can be life in the subsurface layers. Venus and Visit www.astronomyquiz.info for more online quizzes

5. Mars

6. The life zone is too close to the star

When the life zone is too close to the star, then a planet inside the life zone will be under strong tidal forces. This will slow down the rotation and one side may permanently face the star, while the otherside will remain cold in the dark.

7. Have unstable orbits

It takes billions of years for intelligent life to evolve from primitive single cell organisms. This is not possible unless the planet is in a stable orbit.

8. Temperature range in which water can exist in liquid form

9. Drake equation
where: N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible; and R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets f = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space

10. Anthropic principle

This philosophical arguement suggests that the physical universe must be compatible with the intelligent conscious life that observes it.

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