In early 2003, scientists detected methane in the atmosphere of Mars. Methane is a fragile compound that falls apart ...

Anna on November 6, 2018

How to tackle this question

Hello, I was not sure how to even start this question or what the correct answer could be. Any help is appreciated!

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Jacob-R on November 7, 2018

I’m happy to help. We are looking for the assumption in the argument.

What are the premises? In 2003, methane was discovered in the atmosphere of Mars. Methane falls apart when hit by sunlight.

And then we have a conclusion: any methane in the atmosphere of Mars must have been released into the atmosphere relatively recently.

How can we connect those premises to that conclusion? We know that if any of the recently discovered methane in the Martian atmosphere was hit by sunlight, it would have fallen apart. But what if the sun never shines on Mars? Then couldn’t the methane discovered recently have been there for a long time, and not relatively recently?

That is where answer B comes in — it makes explicit the argument’s assumption that all methane in the Martian atmosphere is eventually exposed to sunlight. It is that assumption that allows the argument to make the leap between recently discovered -> not destroyed -> released recently.

I hope that helps! Please let us know if you have further questions.

dace on August 18, 2019

I do not understand.

Ravi on August 18, 2019

@dace, what is it that you're having trouble understanding? Let us know what you'd like more clarification on, and we'll be happy to help. Thanks!

hannahnaylor5 on October 23, 2019

This question really confuses me. Idk if it's the wording, or what it is. Does saying the methane falls apart mean it is destroyed and thus can't be detected, or is it able to be detected once it falls apart?

shunhe on December 26, 2019

Hi @hannahnaylor5, it's the former. Once the methane falls apart, it is destroyed and can't be detected. Hope that helps with figuring this one out.