Scientists say some carbon-rich exoplanets could be made entirely of diamonds and silicon, according to a new study recently published in The Planetary Science Journal.
“These exoplanets are unlike anything in our solar system,” lead author and geophysicist Harrison Allen-Sutter of Arizona State University said in a statement. Most stars are made of the same gas cloud, which means that they end up being made of the same material, in general.
Thus, stars with less carbon – a lower carbon-oxygen ratio than the Sun – tend to resemble the composition of the Earth and will become composed mainly of oxides and silica. > i. Diamonds are rare on Earth – our planet has only about 0.0001% diamond.
But other stars that are made up of significantly higher levels of carbon than the Sun would turn a significant portion of their mass into diamond and silicate, according to new research – that is, if there is enough water around them. , a relatively abundant resource in the universe.
To strengthen the hypothesis, the researchers immersed the silicon carbide in water and compressed it to extremely high pressure levels. A laser warmed the table, while an X-ray machine took measurements. The result: silicon carbide reacted with water and was transformed into silicon and diamonds.
Such diamond-rich planets are extremely unlikely to host life. They would end up being extremely harsh and much less likely to be geologically active. This means that their atmosphere can become far too inert to be habitable.
Therefore, future discoveries of exoplanets could be ruled out as habitable due to their unusually high density profiles. Apart from whether they could be habitable or not, this is an additional step in helping us to understand and characterize our growing and improved observations. of exoplanets, Ã¢ â¬ Allen-Sutter said.