As an additional incentive to improve human colonization capabilities, researchers revealed that worlds made mostly of diamonds are not only possible, but are in fact highly potential (not to mention profitable).
With private space companies slowly but surely gaining a foothold in low Earth orbit, amid plans to take humans to the Moon and Mars in the next decade, the potential plunder available in farther places looks increasingly promising.
Researchers at Arizona State University recently published a paper in which they detailed the conditions necessary for the so-called Diamond World The emergence of exoplanets, plus a proof-of-concept experiment.
“These exoplanets are unlike anything in our solar system,” Says geophysicist Harrison Allen Sutter of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.
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Their research is based on the idea that not all stars are created equal, and that the chemical makeup of planets in a particular star system is largely determined by the composition of their star.
According to current estimates, between 12 and 17 percent of planetary systems may inhabit space around carbon-rich stars, a promising precursor to diamond worlds.
Scientists and researchers have already confirmed the existence of carbide planets, consisting mainly of carbon and a handful of other elements, but they have to confront the putative silicon carbide planets (also known as “ diamonds ”) with a little water to oxidize and convert the carbide into its silicon and carbon components.
Allen Sutter and his team demonstrate that with sufficient heat, pressure, and a dash of water, these silicon carbide worlds could be covered in diamonds. To prove their point, the researchers used a diamond anvil cell, which subjected the test materials to unusually high pressures.
They submerged samples of silicon carbide in water and then ejected hell out of them at a pressure of about 50 GPa, or 500,000 times the atmospheric pressure of Earth at sea level. To make matters worse, the team then detonated the laser-pressed samples to heat them up.
They conducted 18 times of this experiment and, as expected, the silicon carbide samples shattered and turned into silica and diamonds. So the supposed “diamond worlds” are completely possible, we just need to find them.
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For those who are tempted into searching the universe for these diamond worlds, the sweet spot would be planets with a temperature of 2,500 K (2,226 degrees Celsius, 4,040 degrees Fahrenheit), a high-pressure atmosphere and the presence of water atop silicon carbide rock, a fairly long, but worthy request. The trouble to find diamonds in Hungarian rough.
The emerging interplanetary treasure hunters warn that these worlds will not be remotely hospitable to miners, as their atmosphere will be toxic to all life forms as we know them. So Indiana Jones interstellar residents will need some very powerful machines to extract riches from these extraordinary planets.
Meanwhile, upcoming missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Romanian Nancy Grace Space Telescope will help identify these diamond worlds as well as a plethora of other interesting planets and potential treasures of alien life.
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