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This worksheet supports Common Core State Standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.9

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Exploring Space (Grade 9)

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Exploring Space

Thanks to a continuing onslaught of science fiction films from "Star Wars" to "Star Trek," the drive to explore outer space is constantly kept at the forefront of the public's attention. People dream of becoming astronauts. Authors write fantasy series about finding life on other planets. Experts develop increasingly high-tech probes to launch out into the blackness surrounding the Earth to take pictures and get scientific information.

While the lure of outer space is a powerful one, there are a number of scientists and other experts who feel the money, effort, skill, and time spent on exploring what is waiting in the universe should be spent on exploring the planet's oceans instead. Billions of dollars in government money is devoted to space exploration. Only a small fraction of that amount is spent on finding out more about the alien environment beneath the ocean surfaces.

Why is so much more attention paid to exploring the universe than exploring the seas? Part of it can be blamed on the media. A simple tally of the number of space movies compared to the number of ocean movies - especially if you take out the ones with sharks - tells the story. The sky is easy for everyone to see and to look up and appreciate glittering stars or a cratered moon. Oceans, on the other hand, often just look like miles and miles of nothing but water. The truth is, however, that ocean exploration offers far more benefits to humans than space does. Oceans are a rich source of everything from rare earth metals to millions of yet undiscovered species. Exploring the blackness fathoms deep instead of light years away may not seem as exciting, but it may be the wisest scientific choice in the long run.
1. 
Which statement about ocean research is the most accurate?
  1. It will end up costing as much as space exploration does.
  2. It may reveal information about countless new species.
  3. It will distract scientists from doing additional space research.
  4. It may end the world's search for rare-earth minerals.
2. 
What is the primary reason experts believe it is better to explore the world's oceans rather than space?
  1. The ocean offers more potential advantages to people.
  2. It costs almost nothing to explore the planet's waters.
  3. The world wants to know more about ocean sharks.
  4. It will inspire more books and films about deep sea life.
3. 
What two things is this passage comparing?
  1. The popularity of "Star Wars" to "Star Trek" books and movies.
  2. The relevance of measuring in light years to ocean fathoms.
  3. The importance of learning about space exploration versus the ocean.
  4. The amount of time spent exploring versus government funding for exploration.

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