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# Spectroscopic analysis has revelaed the existence of frozen

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Manager
Joined: 19 Jun 2003
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Spectroscopic analysis has revelaed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2004, 19:10
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I posted this question before but it did not get much attention. Trying it again..I am not convinced with the OA.

Spectroscopic analysis has revelaed the existence of frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide on the surface of Pluto. Such ices have a tendency to vaporize, producing an atmosphere. Since the proportion of any gas in such an atmosphere depends directly on how readily the corresponding ice vaporizes, astronomers have concluded that the components of Pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane, in order of decreasing abundance.

The astronomer's argument relies on which one of the following assumptions?

(A) There is no more frozen nitrogen on the surface of Pluto than there is either frozen carbon monoxide or methane

(B) Until space probes reash Pluto, direct analysis of the atmosphere is impossible.

(C) There is no frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane but less readily than carbon monoxide

(D) Nitrogen is found in the atmosphere of a planet only if nitrogen ice is found on the surface of that planet

(E) A mixture of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane is characteristic of the substances from which the Solar System formed.

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SVP
Joined: 30 Oct 2003
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Location: NewJersey USA

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04 Aug 2004, 20:13
I guess the answer is (A)

Since Nitrogen vapourizes more readily there must be less frozen nitrogen on the surface compared to other gases in frozen form

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Intern
Joined: 27 Jul 2004
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04 Aug 2004, 20:21
D (??)
The argument is "Since the proportion of any gas in such an atmosphere depends directly on how readily the corresponding ice vaporizes..." and I think it lies on the assumption that "Nitrogen is found in the atmosphere of a planet only if nitrogen ice is found on the surface of that planet"

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Manager
Joined: 02 Jul 2004
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05 Aug 2004, 01:59
I think obvious C

All other choices are out of scope (for example, A, the closest contender, deals with quantities of the frozen gases, not how readily these gases vaporize)

Now, if C is not true then THERE IS SOME frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane but less readily than carbon monoxide. Denote this substance X and the degree of its vaporization V(X). We have:

V(carbon monoxide) > V(X) > V(methane)

Therefore, since "the proportion of any gas in such an atmosphere depends directly on how readily the corresponding ice vaporizes" it should be:

proportion of carbon monoxide > proportion of X > proportion of methane

X is either nitrogen, and then the sequence of proportions the scientists established does not hold, or X is not nitrogen, but then it should have been included as an atmosphere component

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Director
Joined: 16 Jun 2004
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05 Aug 2004, 03:39

Evidence can be read as - 'the pluto's atmosphere has M>CO>N' - read the words 'decreasing abundance'.

The evidence also states that N, M and CO are in the surface of pluto.

Combining the above two sentences it is clear that Methane vaporises faster than CO than N - because of which there is more Methane in the atomosphere vis-a-vis other gases

Hence C.

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05 Aug 2004, 03:39
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