Oooo, A Science Test

Test your IQ on science fact and fiction (MSNBC)

Science speeds along so fast that it can be hard sometimes to know exactly what’s known. So every now and then, it’s helpful to pause and ponder the state of things.

The following 10 statements straddle the line between fact and fiction in space science. If you haven’t been paying very close attention, the truthfulness of some might be hard to gauge.

I managed 80%, I’m sure any number of readers will do as well or better.

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Rodney Dill
About Rodney Dill
Rodney is an IT Implementation Consultant in the Motor City and working within the Automotive Industry. He contributed to OTB from November 2004 until retiring in July 2017, hosting some 1200 OTB Caption Contests.


  1. 4. We now have evidence that some form of life exists beyond Earth, at least in primitive form.

    They want an answer of “science fiction”. But it’s absurdly juxtaposed with this:

    2. Some organisms can survive in space for years – without any kind of protective enclosure.

    Which is a true statement.

    The answer to 4. is incorrect. There has been definitive evidence for primitive life outside Earth. Our microorganisms are hitching rides on our sattellites.

    There’s also a small orbital space station that contains even more advanced life forms.

    We’ve not observed any of our little microbial buddies clinging to spacecraft launched outside of Earth orbit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some few are left hibernating on e.g. Voyager. Or, as a much funnier prospect, hitched a ride on Beagle and are busy colonizing Mars.

    Yours truly,
    Jeffrey Boulier

  2. sortapundit says:

    60%. I suck.

  3. Maureen says:

    I got an 80% but like any good 6th grade teacher, I misread a question (#5). And besides I really got a 90% because what Jeffrey said is true. That is science fact. So really, I would have got 100%.

    I demand a retest!

  4. Leo Hoban says:

    Hmm, 100%. I think they meant that precursors and microbes have been able to survive in similar environments.

  5. 80%. Still scratching my head about the teleportation one.

  6. Commissar:

    I thought the quantum question was badly phrased (though I got it right, since I figured out what they were going for. :0) ). “There’s teleportation in Star Trek. Then there’s this quantum teleportation thing, which is completely unrelated, except for, y’know, being teleportation.”

    Basically you teleport really tiny things really short distances.

    For anyone else interested in the inspiring story of Earthly bacteria conquering the solar system: Apollo 12 took back parts from the unmanned Surveyor 3 mission. In a camera lens from that spacecraft was found a few streptococcus mitis that had lasted a year and a half outside Earth. Life’s tough, in more ways than one.

  7. austin says:

    50%. I’m the lowest to post their score so far.

    This either means I’m stupid, ignorant, or just less ashamed of my stupidity and ignorance. 😉

  8. Rodney Dill says:

    Commisar and Jeffrey

    The Teleportation and the bacteria were the ones that hung me up too.

  9. Charlie (Colorado) says:

    The life question is incredibly poorly phrased, since there are examples of meteorites that have evidence of extraterrestrial life.

    It’s not conclusive, but that’s not what the question says.


  10. Django Bliss says:

    Poorly phrased, and incorrect answers on their part:
    8. There is no gravity in deep space
    They say false and then give the moon as an example. The moon isn’t deep space. Deep space is when you have nothing around you for multiple light years in all directions. While all objects with mass theoretically still pull on you from all over the galaxy even in deep space, gravity is a relatively weak force and only works well at close distances. The amount of gravity you would have in deep space with no proximity to gravity wells, would essentially be a zero value.

  11. Dave says:

    An incredibly well-structured and fair test. As a matter of fact I did get 100%, why do you ask?

  12. denise says:

    Well, I got 90%. Therefore, the questions are perfectly worded, and the answers they give are correct. 😉

  13. Myopist says:

    Got a 90%, but then again I’m marrying an engineer and she’s had seven years to beat some scientific sense into me. I got that microorganism question wrong, too: I never thought to think of terrestial microoganisms.

  14. The Other JD says:

    100%. I do, however, see the concerns of others regarding the ways in which the questions were asked.

  15. ibejo says:

    90%. Missed the rings question. I think this goes a long way towards explaining why I can’t get laid.

  16. Brian J. Bartlett says:

    90% but only due to the fact that #5 is wrong. While NASA may say that a starship can’t reach other solar systems, nor be done within a reasonable budget, such designs have existed since the 1960’s, specifically NERVA as just one example. Typical NASA NIH (Not Invented Here) nonsense. Once we have a working fusion reactor design (they’re still haggling over France vs. Japan for the site) then the Bussard Ramjet becomes feasible as well and that is much faster (near light speed at turnover). Food for thought.

  17. Tim Worstall says:

    100%. But then I‘m English so it‘s only natural eh?

    More seriously, how‘s about finding a few more quizzes, generating a few donations to Spirit of America?
    I‘m game to try a few more, paying up when I lose.