Distant worlds with ‘Diamond Rain’ could populate the Universe, say scientists

It could possibly be raining diamonds on planets throughout the Universe, scientists prompt on Friday, after utilizing frequent plastic to recreate the unusual precipitation believed to be forming deep inside Uranus and Neptune.

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

Now, new analysis, revealed in Scientists progressinserted oxygen into the combination, discovering that “diamond rain” is perhaps extra frequent than beforehand thought.

Ice giants like Neptune and Uranus are regarded as the most typical planet form outdoors our photo voltaic system, that means diamond showers may happen all through the universe.

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

Beneath the floor of the planets, there’s regarded as a “sizzling dense liquid”, the place diamonds kind 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 kind huge layers that stretch for “a whole bunch of kilometers or much more”, Kraus instructed AFP.

Whereas these diamonds is probably not shiny and reduce like “a fairly gem on a hoop,” he mentioned they have been shaped by forces much like these on Earth.

In an effort to duplicate the method, the analysis group discovered the mandatory 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 group then shot a high-powered optical laser on the plastic on the SLAC Nationwide Accelerator Laboratory in California.

“Very, very brief 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 giant quantities on these planets actually helps to suck the hydrogen atoms out of the carbon, so it is really simpler for these diamonds to kind,” he added.

A brand new approach to make nanodiamonds?

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

“The best way nanodiamonds are at present 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 technique of manufacturing nanodiamonds,” he added.

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

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

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

“That may be improbable,” Kraus mentioned.

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

© Agence France-Presse

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