They could be some distant alien planets made of diamonds, scientists say.
Scientists found in a new study with the right conditions such as the presence of heat and water pressure, exoplanets with high carbon concentrations could become diamonds. The researchers added that these exoplanets could also form silica, a silicon oxide found in quartz in nature.
“These exoplanets are nothing like our solar system,” said lead author Harrison Allen-Sutter, an associate graduate of the Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration. he said in a statement.
Related: The planet Earth is probably made up of diamonds
Stars and planets in the same solar system are formed from the same cloud of gas and dust, so they usually have some similarities in composition. While the planets like it Earth often orbiting stars with lower carbon-oxygen ratios, exoplanets orbiting stars with a higher carbon-oxygen ratio are likely to be carbon-rich.
Thus, although the Earth has a low diamond content (around 0.001%), carbon-rich exoplanets could be heavy on diamonds, the researchers said in the same statement.
To test how and if these planets could form diamonds (and silica), scientists mimicked the interiors of carbon-rich exoplanets in the lab. They did this using high-heat, high-pressure diamond anvil cells (high-pressure devices used to compress small pieces of material at extreme pressures). he compressed it to high pressures between two diamonds. While this was happening, they also used lasers to heat the sample.
By monitoring this process with X-ray measurements, the researchers found that silicon carbide was converted to diamonds and silica.
However, the scientific team does not believe that these diamond planets would probably not be able to host life. Researchers estimate that most carbon-rich planets like this would not be particularly geologically active, which could make their atmospheres inhospitable to life, according to the statement.
“Regardless of habitability, this is an additional step to help us understand and characterize our growing observations and improvements in exoplanets,” Allen-Sutter said in the statement. “The more we learn, the better we will be able to interpret new data from future missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Roman space telescope Nancy Grace for understanding the worlds beyond our own solar system. “
That the work was published on 26 August and The Planetary Science Journal.
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