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Earth’s habitability is sustained by the sun. Currently, the sun provides enough light and warmth to maintain temperature conditions that can support life on our planet. It is undisputed that the sun is a star. All stars go through phases where they change in size, temperature, and brightness. Two scientists present their views on how long Earth will remain habitable.
Earth’s sun has another 7 billion years before it enters the Red Giant phase. Currently, Earth could not sustain human life during the Red Giant phase. However, it is important not to believe that human life on Earth will immediately cease to exist as we know it in 7 billion years. Technology has played a huge role in helping humans adapt to conditions on this planet.
We humans have 7 billion years to advance technology and find solutions to adapt to the atmospheric changes the Red Giant phase would bring. For instance, creating a large sunshade to protect Earth would allow life to continue even when the sun enters the Red Giant phase. Another solution would be to develop technology that would stir the sun and bring new hydrogen to the sun’s core. This would greatly extend the current phase that our sun is in. There is enough time and incentive to discover ways to thwart the natural progress of nature. Therefore, I believe that human life on this planet will exist indefinitely.
The sun will enter its Red Giant phase in about 7 billion years. However, new models suggest that Earth has less than a billion years before atmospheric carbon dioxide levels drop to levels that can no longer support photosynthesis. This would lead to a dramatic temperature increase. Once Earth’s average temperature rises to above 70◦C, the oceans will evaporate and Earth’s water sources will be almost completely eliminated.
One billion years is not long enough for humans to evolve in order to meet large atmospheric and environmental changes, or to develop the technology needed to make Earth habitable. In a billion years, atmospheric changes will eliminate all life on Earth as we know it. Humans need to accept the reality that advanced life flourishes for only a limited period of time. Science fiction inspired plans to create space colonies or massive sunshades are unrealistic and will not likely be developed in the next billion years.
1. If the interpretation of Scientist 1 is correct, which of the following generalizations about technology is most accurate?
A. Technology only develops when there is a dire need for it and plenty of time to conduct experiments.
B. Some technology can either alter or enhance natural forces.
C. Technology is solely responsible for making the planet habitable.
D. Technology can help prevent the sun from changing indefinitely.
2. Studies show that Venus may once have had an atmosphere and environment almost identical to Earth’s. Now, Venus has no water on its surface or in its atmosphere. How would Scientist 2 most likely explain the change in Venus’s atmosphere and environment?
F. Venus’s living beings were not able to stir the sun to bring new hydrogen to its core.
G. Venus’s sun entered its Red Giant phase much earlier in the planet’s development.
H. The carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere dropped to levels that no longer supported photosynthesis.
J. Venus’s location to the sun made it more vulnerable to atmospheric and environmental changes.
3. Which of the following does Scientist 1 suggest would postpone the sun reaching its Red Giant phase?
A. Using technology to create space colonies built from pieces of meteorites .
B. Using technology to create a giant sunshade to protect Earth from the sun.
C. Using technology to change the levels of hydrogen in the sun’s core.
D. Using technology to increase the amount of hydrogen in Earth’s core.
4. Scientist 1 suggests that:
F. humans will always be adapt to any changes in Earth’s atmosphere and environment.
G. the earth will no longer be able to sustain human life in 7 billion years.
H. sufficient time and incentive are not necessary elements in advancing technology.
J. creating sunshades would help to increase levels of carbon dioxide in the air, which is important in maintaining life on the planet.
5. The passage argues that Scientists 1 and 2 disagree on:
A. whether technology will evolve in time to prevent Earth from becoming inhabitable.
B. whether the sun will ever enter the Red Giant phase.
C. whether water and a temperate climate are needed for human survival.
D. whether the technology to create space colonies already exists.
6. The views of both scientists are similar because they both argue that:
F. humans will be able to exist indefinitely on Earth.
G. 7 billion years is long enough to create technology that will protect the earth from a changing sun.
H. the earth is subject to future atmospheric changes.
J. it might be possible to discover new planets that are able to sustain human life.
7. Which of the following findings, if true, would weaken the arguments of Scientist 2?
A. The planet Venus was unable to sustain life when atmospheric changes occurred.
B. Studies have shown that, during prehistoric times, Earth’s temperature reached 75◦ Celsius.
C. It is impossible to create a space colony large enough to support life for long periods of time.
D. Recent scientific models have shown that the earth will not be habitable in 1 billion years.
1. The best answer is B.
Scientist 1 argues that technology “has played a huge role in helping humans to adapt to conditions on this planet.” Scientist 1 goes on to explain some technological advances that might change the natural processes of the sun and says that there is “enough time and incentive to discover ways to thwart the natural progress of nature.” This best supports answer choice B.
2. The best answer is H.
According to Scientist 2, a significant drop in carbon dioxide levels could lead to the end of photosynthesis, which, in turn would result in dramatic temperature increases. Once the temperature reaches a certain point, the water on the surface and in the atmosphere will evaporate. This information best supports answer choice H.
3. The best answer is C.
Scientist 1 states that humans could “develop technology that would stir the sun and bring new hydrogen to the sun’s core. This would greatly extend the current phase that our sun is in.” The passage clearly indicates that our sun is not yet in the Red Giant phase, so this technological advance could postpone the sun reaching that stage.
4. The best answer is F.
Scientist 1 believes that in 7 billion years, humans will have more than enough time to “advance technology and find solutions to adapt to the atmospheric changes the Red Giant phase would bring.” This suggests that Scientist 1 believes in human beings’ ability to adapt and adjust to changes in Earth’s atmosphere and environment. The other answer choices are not supported by Scientist 1’s viewpoint.
5. The best answer is A.
Scientist 1 believes that there is plenty of time for technology to evolve in time to change Earth’s environment. Scientist 2, on the other hand, states that there is not enough time “for humans to evolve in order to meet large atmo- spheric and environmental changes, or to develop the technology needed to make Earth habitable.” The other answer choices are not supported by the passage.
6. The best answer is H.
According to the passage, the only thing that both scientists would agree on is the notion that the earth is going to undergo dramatic changes in the future. The other answer choices are not supported by the passage.
7. The best answer is B.
According to Scientist 2, if “Earth’s average temperature rises to above 70◦C, the oceans will evaporate and Earth’s water sources will be almost completely eliminated.” If it was found that at one point in earth’s history the temperature rose above 70◦C and these things did not happen, Scientist 2’s viewpoint would be weakened.