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# Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen

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Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2005, 01:39
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Spectroscopic analysis has revealed 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 Plutoâ€™s atmosphere are nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane, in order of decreasing abundance.

The astronomersâ€™ 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 reach 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.

OA Provided
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2005, 08:25
I'll go with (C) since the stem talks about the relative composition of the atmosphere with respect to the 3 gases.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2005, 09:55
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(A) There is no more frozen nitrogen on the surface of Pluto than there is either frozen carbon monoxide or methane.
- Out. Does not tells us there is more frozen nitrogen than frozen carbon monoxide/methane

(B) Until space probes reach Pluto, direct analysis of the atmosphere is impossible.
- Out of scope

(C) There is no frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane but less readily than carbon monoxide.
- This one explains why there is a decreasing abundance from nitrogen to carbon monxide to methane.

(D) Nitrogen is found in the atmosphere of a planet only if nitrogen ice is found on the surface of that planet.
- Does not explain the abundance. We're already told the ice vaporize to produce an atmosphere, so this choice does nothign more than to give a redundant premise

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

I'll go with C

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2005, 10:22
vprabhala wrote:
C-70% D-30% still cofusing..

You need to look closely at the conclusion. The conclusion says the astronomers concluded that the components of pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane in order of decreasing abundance.

Nothing in the passage links the premsies given to the conclusion that there is a difference in constitution of the atmosphere. (D) does not exlain why there is more nitrogen, but (C) does.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2005, 10:23
makes sense.. note to self.. don't second guess thanks ywilfred

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2005, 10:32
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vprabhala wrote:
makes sense.. note to self.. don't second guess thanks ywilfred

you're welcome

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2005, 10:35
chunjuwu wrote:
(D) Nitrogen is found in the atmosphere of a planet only if nitrogen ice is found on the surface of that planet.

The main problem with this is the "only if". The scientists do not have to make this assumption. They could use this assumption instead: Nitrogen will be found in the atmosphere (B) if nitrogen ice is found on the surface of the planet (A). They already know that the ice is found, it is sufficient for them to conclude that nitrogen can be found in the atmosphere based on the assumption that A is sufficient for B. They don't need to assume A is necessary for B. There might be other cases where there are nitrogen in the air without nitrogen ice in the ground.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2005, 20:59
ywilfred wrote:
vprabhala wrote:
C-70% D-30% still cofusing..

You need to look closely at the conclusion. The conclusion says the astronomers concluded that the components of pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane in order of decreasing abundance.

Hello, ywilfred.

Could you tell me what's the conclusion? In fact, I did not know the sentence 'in order of decreasing abundance' mean? What's the relationship between decreasing abundance and vaporizatoin? Which kind of component vaporize most easily?

Sorry, I'm not a native english speaker.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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15 Mar 2005, 21:52
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Here's a diagramming of the passage I did.

1) Spectroscopic analysis revealed existence of frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide on surface of pluto
2) Such ice have tendency to vaporize, producing an atmosphere
3) Proportion of gas in atmosphere depends directly on how readily corresponding ice vaporize
4)Astronomers concluded that components of Pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, Carbon monixide and methane in decreasing abundance.

1, 2 and 3 are premises --> All facts
4 is a conclusion --> A claim (made by the astronomers)

In decreasing abundance means in Pluto's atmosphere, there is more nitrogen, than carbon monxide, and more carbon monxide than methane. It's talking about the gases that make up the atmosphere, and telling us which gas is higher in proportion.

Based on premise 3, if the conclusion is true, nitrogen vaporizes the fastest, followed by carbon monoxide, and methane.

Now we'll look at answer choice (C).

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

In order for the astronomer's claim that nitrogen is highest in proportion followed by carbon monoxide then methane, we need a statement that tells us that the proportion is indeed in this order.

(C) does that perfectly. It tells us there is no frozen substance (e.g. frozen oxygen) that vaporizes faster than methane but slower tan carbon monoxide

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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15 Mar 2005, 22:04
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"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 Plutoâ€™s atmosphere are nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane, in order of decreasing abundance. "

I would pick (A). There would be two assumptions based on the above portion of the passage..
Nitrogen> Carbon Mono > Methane
2. There was an equal amount of each of the three element-ices to start with before evaporation began.
A states exactly 2.

C could actually contradict the passage, as acc. to it, methane should be the most abundant and not nitrogen.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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15 Mar 2005, 22:14
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We're told nothing on pluto vaporizes faster than methane, and slower than carbon monoxide.

That means there cannot be anything in between methane and carbon monoxide. The order Nitrogen->Carbon Monixide->Methane will not be changed.

In fact, A can be refuted to say there are other substances like frozen oxygen, and they could be higher in quantity. C cannot be challenged by this assumption even if you really had frozen oxygen, because we know that this frozen oxygen is not going to vaporize faster than methan and slower than carbon monoxide.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 00:24
ywilfred wrote:
Here's a diagramming of the passage I did.

1) Spectroscopic analysis revealed existence of frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide on surface of pluto
2) Such ice have tendency to vaporize, producing an atmosphere
3) Proportion of gas in atmosphere depends directly on how readily corresponding ice vaporize
4)Astronomers concluded that components of Pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, Carbon monixide and methane in decreasing abundance.

1, 2 and 3 are premises --> All facts
4 is a conclusion --> A claim (made by the astronomers)

In decreasing abundance means in Pluto's atmosphere, there is more nitrogen, than carbon monxide, and more carbon monxide than methane. It's talking about the gases that make up the atmosphere, and telling us which gas is higher in proportion.

Based on premise 3, if the conclusion is true, nitrogen vaporizes the fastest, followed by carbon monoxide, and methane.

Now we'll look at answer choice (C).

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

Hello, look at red part.
nitrogen vaporizes the fastest, followed by carbon monoxide, and methane

There is no frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane Is it not carbon monoxide and nitrogen?

...but less readily than carbon monoxide
Is it not methane ?

Thanks

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 03:43
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chunjuwu wrote:
ywilfred wrote:
Here's a diagramming of the passage I did.

1) Spectroscopic analysis revealed existence of frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide on surface of pluto
2) Such ice have tendency to vaporize, producing an atmosphere
3) Proportion of gas in atmosphere depends directly on how readily corresponding ice vaporize
4)Astronomers concluded that components of Pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, Carbon monixide and methane in decreasing abundance.

1, 2 and 3 are premises --> All facts
4 is a conclusion --> A claim (made by the astronomers)

In decreasing abundance means in Pluto's atmosphere, there is more nitrogen, than carbon monxide, and more carbon monxide than methane. It's talking about the gases that make up the atmosphere, and telling us which gas is higher in proportion.

Based on premise 3, if the conclusion is true, nitrogen vaporizes the fastest, followed by carbon monoxide, and methane.

Now we'll look at answer choice (C).

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

Hello, look at red part.
nitrogen vaporizes the fastest, followed by carbon monoxide, and methane

There is no frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane Is it not carbon monoxide and nitrogen?

...but less readily than carbon monoxide
Is it not methane ?

Thanks

Hi Chunjuwu, let me give an example illustrating what I meant. We know that the three gases, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane must go in this order from most to least: Nitrogen -> Carbon Monoxide -> Methane.

Now if there's another substance, say frozen oxygen that vaporiese faster than methan but slower than Carbon Monoxide, we will get:
Nitrogen -> Carbon Monoxide -> Oxygen -> Methan. This is exactly the situation C helps us to avoid getting into. It says no other substance, vaporizes faster than Methane, and slower than Carbon monoxide. This means we will never end up in this situation:

Nitrogen -> Carbon Monoxide -> Other Subsance -> Methane.

And if we can never get into the situation above, the conclusion will hold.

Hope what I explained is clear for you. Let me know if you need more

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 04:37
Thanks, ywilfred

This time I totally figure out.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 04:40
You're most welcome

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 09:16
ywilfred wrote:

We're told nothing on pluto vaporizes faster than methane, and slower than carbon monoxide.

That means there cannot be anything in between methane and carbon monoxide. The order Nitrogen->Carbon Monixide->Methane will not be changed.

In fact, A can be refuted to say there are other substances like frozen oxygen, and they could be higher in quantity. C cannot be challenged by this assumption even if you really had frozen oxygen, because we know that this frozen oxygen is not going to vaporize faster than methan and slower than carbon monoxide.

I disagree.

A few thing's I'd like to mention.

1. Ice vaporizes and produces gas. THe more vapor there is, the more concentration of that gas in the atmosphere. ( I think ywilfed is probably taking it to mean the other way i.e. more vaporization means less concentration in the atmosphere.)

2. So, from the passage, Nitrogen vaporizes faster than the other tow in the order Nitrogen > Carbon Mono > Methane, given that we start with similar quantities of each. If we start with 2 m^3 of Nitro vs. 100000 m^3 of methane, after a certain amount of time, the amount of Nitro gas in the atmosphere is going to be proportional to the 2m^3 even though it vaporizes much faster.

Choice C => There is no frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane but less readily than carbon monoxide.
which contradicts #2 above. There actually are two substances that vaporize more readily than methane.

I see your point abt frozen oxygen, but with the given info, choice A is still the best.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 10:24
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This question puzzles me too. The question stem could lead to many good choices but the choices given are not exactly what you'd expect. Anyways here's what I think.

Fact: There are frozen N2, Methane, and CO on the surface of Pluto.
Fact: Such ice tend to vaporize and produce an atmosphere.
Fact: The proportion of any gas depends on how readily the corresponding ice vaporizes.
Conclusion: The components of Pluto's atmosphere are N2, CO, and methane, with N2>CO>Methane.

The obviouse assumption I can see from the passage is that N2 is more readily vaporized CO follows, and Methane is least readily vaporized.

(A) There is no more frozen nitrogen on the surface of Pluto than there is either frozen carbon monoxide or methane.
This almost feels like the only possible correct answer that they want to test you. However it should have been "there is no less frozen nitrogen than carbon monoxide or methane", instead of "no more... than". The way it is formulated now, it doesn't seem to be an assumption that the scientists need to make. Even if there is more frozen N2 than the others, this would make the N2 gas more abundant than the others, and will not overthrow the conclusion.

(B) Until space probes reach Pluto, direct analysis of the atmosphere is impossible.
This is a bit out of scope I think.

(C) There is no frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane but less readily than carbon monoxide.
This looks like a trap. What one is supposed to think is that "well what if there's some other frozen gas that is not discovered whose readiness to vaporize is between Methane and CO?" However, I think the way the conclusion is spelled out has ruled out this possibility. The conclusion says "The components of Pluto's atmosphere are" this this and that. In other words, it didn't say these three are in the atmosphere. The subtle difference to me is that the second way you can say other things may also be in the atmosphere, but the first way you are sure the only components are these three.

(D) Nitrogen is found in the atmosphere of a planet only if nitrogen ice is found on the surface of that planet.
As I said before, the problem with this is "only if".

(E) A mixture of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane is characteristic of the substances from which the Solar System formed.
I tried to see if there's something here. But it looked out of scope to me.

Therefore among the five choices C looks like the closest to me.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 10:41
HongHu,
What do you think about the point I raised that C contradicts the passage?

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 10:44
amit_upasani@hotmail.com wrote:
HongHu,
What do you think about the point I raised that C contradicts the passage?

Can C really contradict the passage ? It doesn't. If there was some other gases (assuming there are any), then (C) ensures that the order Nitrogen > CO > Methane is not going to be upset in anyway.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2005, 10:45
amit_upasani@hotmail.com wrote:
ywilfred wrote:

We're told nothing on pluto vaporizes faster than methane, and slower than carbon monoxide.

That means there cannot be anything in between methane and carbon monoxide. The order Nitrogen->Carbon Monixide->Methane will not be changed.

In fact, A can be refuted to say there are other substances like frozen oxygen, and they could be higher in quantity. C cannot be challenged by this assumption even if you really had frozen oxygen, because we know that this frozen oxygen is not going to vaporize faster than methan and slower than carbon monoxide.

I disagree.

A few thing's I'd like to mention.

1. Ice vaporizes and produces gas. THe more vapor there is, the more concentration of that gas in the atmosphere. ( I think ywilfed is probably taking it to mean the other way i.e. more vaporization means less concentration in the atmosphere.)

I do get the point that more vaporization will result in a higher concentration of that gas in the atmosphere, and that's what I've been hitting at in this thread. We are told there is a direct relationship between vaporization of the frozen gas, and the proportion of that gas in the atmosphere. The faster the frozen gas vaporizes, the more of that gas we get.

2. So, from the passage, Nitrogen vaporizes faster than the other tow in the order Nitrogen > Carbon Mono > Methane, given that we start with similar quantities of each. If we start with 2 m^3 of Nitro vs. 100000 m^3 of methane, after a certain amount of time, the amount of Nitro gas in the atmosphere is going to be proportional to the 2m^3 even though it vaporizes much faster.

Choice C => There is no frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane but less readily than carbon monoxide.
which contradicts #2 above. There actually are two substances that vaporize more readily than methane.

I see your point abt frozen oxygen, but with the given info, choice A is still the best.

Let's look at it another way. I'll employ the diagramming method I used earlier on, and insert the assumption in, then we'll see which one really plug the gap and hold the conclusion up. Also, we'll use the 'therefore' test to see if it fits in logically with the conclusion.

Here's the diagram of the passage.

1) Spectroscopic analysis revealed existence of frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide on surface of pluto
2) Such ice have tendency to vaporize, producing an atmosphere
3) Proportion of any gas in atmosphere depends directly on how readily corresponding ice vaporize
4) Therefore, Astronomers concluded that components of Pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, Carbon monixide and methane in decreasing abundance.

Clearly, something is missing. The astronomers managed to conclude Nitrogen > CO > Methane in the atmosphere, just from the premise these ice vaporize to produce an atmosphere. We need something else, an assumption, to hold up the conclusion.

Let's try A. where I inserted it as premise 4 in the diagram.

1) Spectroscopic analysis revealed existence of frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide on surface of pluto
2) Such ice have tendency to vaporize, producing an atmosphere
3) Proportion of any gas in atmosphere depends directly on how readily corresponding ice vaporize
4) There is no more frozen nitrogen on the surface of Pluto than there is either frozen carbon monoxide or methane.
5) Therefore, Astronomers concluded that components of Pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, Carbon monixide and methane in decreasing abundance.
Does it help understand why the astronomers made that conclusion ? It doesn't.

Now let's try C, where I inserted as premise 4 in the diagram.

1) Spectroscopic analysis revealed existence of frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide on surface of pluto
2) Such ice have tendency to vaporize, producing an atmosphere
3) Proportion of any gas in atmosphere depends directly on how readily corresponding ice vaporize
4) There is no frozen substance on the surface of Pluto that vaporizes more readily than methane but less readily than carbon monoxide
5) Therefore, Astronomers concluded that components of Pluto's atmosphere are nitrogen, Carbon monixide and methane in decreasing abundance.

Now this ties in more logically and the Astrnomers could conclude why it is Nitrogen > CO > Methan and not any other order.

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Re: Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the existence of frozen   [#permalink] 16 Mar 2005, 10:45

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