It’s raining diamonds across the universe, research shows

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Paris (AFP)- It might be raining diamonds on planets throughout the universe, scientists urged on Friday, after utilizing frequent plastic to recreate the unusual precipitation believed to type deep inside Uranus and Neptune.

Scientists had beforehand hypothesized that extraordinarily excessive stress and temperatures turned hydrogen and carbon into strong diamonds hundreds of miles under the floor of ice giants.

Now new analysis, revealed in Science Advances, has inserted oxygen into the combo, discovering that ‘diamond rain’ could also be extra frequent than beforehand thought.

Ice giants like Neptune and Uranus are regarded as the commonest planet form exterior our photo voltaic system, which means diamond showers may happen within the universe.

Dominik Kraus, a physicist at Germany’s HZDR analysis lab and one of many research’s authors, mentioned precipitation of diamonds may be very completely different from rain on Earth.

Beneath the floor of the planets, there may be regarded as a “sizzling dense liquid”, the place diamonds type and slowly sink to rocky cores, doubtlessly the dimensions of the Earth, greater than 10,000 kilometers (6 200 miles) decrease, he mentioned.

There, fallen diamonds may type huge layers that stretch for “a whole lot of kilometers or much more”, Kraus instructed AFP.

Whereas these diamonds is probably not good and reduce like “a phenomenal gemstone on a hoop,” he mentioned they have been shaped by forces just like these on Earth.

In an effort to copy the method, the analysis workforce discovered the required combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in a available supply – PET plastic, which is used for meals packaging and bottles for all days.

Kraus mentioned that if the researchers used very clear PET plastic, “in precept, the experiment ought to work with Coca-Cola bottles.”

The workforce then shot a high-powered optical laser on the plastic on the SLAC Nationwide Accelerator Laboratory in California.

“Very, very quick bursts of extremely vibrant X-rays” allowed them to look at the method of nanodiamonds – tiny diamonds too small to see with the bare eye – as they shaped, mentioned Kraus.

“The oxygen that is current in massive quantities on these planets actually helps to suck the hydrogen atoms out of the carbon, so it is really simpler for these diamonds to type,” he added.

– A brand new option to make nanodiamonds? –

The experiment may level to a brand new option to produce nanodiamonds, which have a large and rising vary of purposes together with drug supply, medical censors, non-invasive surgical procedure and quantum electronics.

“The best way nanodiamonds are presently made is to take a bunch of carbon or diamond and detonate it with explosives,” mentioned Benjamin Ofori-Okai, SLAC scientist and co-author of the research.

“Laser manufacturing may provide a cleaner and extra simply managed methodology of manufacturing nanodiamonds,” he added.

Diamond rain analysis stays hypothetical as a result of little is understood about Uranus and Neptune, the outermost planets in our photo voltaic system.

Just one spacecraft – NASA’s Voyager 2 within the Eighties – has flown previous the 2 ice giants, and the information it returned remains to be being utilized in analysis.

However a NASA group has outlined a possible new mission to the planets, which may launch inside the subsequent decade.

“That will be improbable,” Kraus mentioned.

He mentioned he appears ahead to extra knowledge, even when it takes a decade or two.

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