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Planets made of diamond and graphite?
December 8, 2010 11:53 AM   Subscribe

A hot carbon-rich gas giant exoplanet, WASP-12b, has been discovered. As the lead author of the paper being published today, Nikku Madhusudhan, says: ""This planet reveals the astounding diversity of worlds out there". In particular, the discovery supports theories that there are likely to be planets made of diamond and graphite out there.
posted by philipy (43 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
ObAttemptNoLandings
posted by DU at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh good a huge mining colony waiting to happen doesn't of an ominous name for anything.
posted by The Whelk at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love this optimism: Astronomers don't currently have the technology to observe the cores of exoplanets...
posted by DU at 11:59 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


well, alert the De Beers family. Need to exploit that resource, now!
"say it with Wasp diamonds, because otherwise, you're less of a man"
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:59 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


BEATLES REFERENCE FAILURE
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hello, ladies. Look at your planet, now back to me, now back at your planet, now back to me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:04 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


A hot carbon-rich gas giant exoplanet

Why does that sound erotic to me?
posted by bondcliff at 12:07 PM on December 8, 2010


We don't need no stinking diamonds... WE NEED COAL! FOSSIL FUELS FTW!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:07 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS, EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE
posted by fuzzypantalones at 12:09 PM on December 8, 2010


Is it ironic that an exoplanet that may have a core composed of "some form of diamond" is named "WASP"?


No, wait - it's just an amusing coincidence.
posted by logicpunk at 12:14 PM on December 8, 2010


Let's say Earth's moon had big-ass mountains of diamonds. If you wanted to, you could go there, scoop them up by hand and fly them back.

Let's say we could do this on an industrial scale. We figured out all the flying, mining, flying back issues, to the point where moon-harvested diamonds are sold on Earth by the pound.

What could you use a shitload of cheap diamonds for?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:15 PM on December 8, 2010


CHAINSAWS
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:16 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


BLING
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:20 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would have a nice set of wood chisels, each blade carved from a single diamond, which would be awesome until the first time I tried to use it and it shattered into a thousand pieces.
posted by echo target at 12:24 PM on December 8, 2010


Cool Papa Bell: More to the point, even if the market on diamonds DIDN'T fall out, it still wouldn't be a particular viable business model. Space flight is difficult and expensive.

I mean, maybe the moon. But if, say, Mars were made up of equal parts diamonds, crude oil, truffles and cocaine, it still wouldn't be worth sending a mining expedition.
posted by 256 at 12:26 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


What could you use a shitload of cheap diamonds for?

Axes, hoes, shovels, and picks. Really, it's the only thing you can get obsidian with.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:27 PM on December 8, 2010 [19 favorites]


But if, say, Mars were made up of equal parts diamonds, crude oil, truffles and cocaine, it still wouldn't be worth sending a mining expedition.

Yeah, that is more of a tourism venture.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:27 PM on December 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


The Magratheans have been busy.
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:27 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Sun is mostly composed of hydrogen, just sitting there ready for the taking...
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


What could you use a shitload of cheap diamonds for?

You apparently don't understand. They're sparkly.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:33 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I hereby claim the diamond planet.
posted by chugg at 12:38 PM on December 8, 2010


But if, say, Mars were made up of equal parts diamonds, crude oil, truffles and cocaine, it still wouldn't be worth sending a mining expedition.

Hello, my wonderful new home!
posted by nomadicink at 12:48 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


What could you use a shitload of cheap diamonds for?

In 2061: Odyssey Three, something vaguely similar occurs and several interesting things were done the diamonds.
posted by nomadicink at 12:54 PM on December 8, 2010


Also, I think the end of the book mentioned diamonds were incorporated into residential and commercial buildings all over the world, making them fireproof and largely indestructible. Can't swear to that though, it's been a while since I read the book.
posted by nomadicink at 12:56 PM on December 8, 2010


Diamonds are soooo not fireproof (which, btw, sucked for whoever discovered that).
posted by Jpfed at 1:11 PM on December 8, 2010


My wife has often referred to me as a carbon rich gas giant exoplanet.
posted by WASP-12b at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I for one welcome our Blingoid overlords.
posted by AugieAugustus at 1:26 PM on December 8, 2010


This doesn't end well.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:40 PM on December 8, 2010


Diamonds aren't indestructible, which I learned here and here.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:45 PM on December 8, 2010


I claim the graphite planet. I shall call it Ticonderoga. Construction of a small pink rubber moon begins immediately.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Alert the Conservative Party that we have located their homeworld and they can leave now.
posted by Hogshead at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


For the sake of my own understanding, I'm gonna try to reconstruct the chain of inferences here.

- Scientists observe the flux from WASP-12b.

- Nikku Madhusudhan wrote a really complicated computer model that predicts the spectral composition of light emitted from Jupiter sized planets with different combinations of elements. He runs his program through millions of combinations of elements until it matches the observed flux.

- The result indicates an atmosphere with more than 100 times the methane and much less water than other "Hot Jupiters." This means the planet has a carbon-to-oxygen ratio of 1 to 2. (Our own solar system has a ratio of 0.5.)

- Going on this data, it is inferred that the gas giant planet may have a hidden core composed of graphite and diamond and who knows what other exotic high pressure allotropes of carbon.

- Furthermore, the presence of so much carbon may indicate that the star system formed from a carbon rich nebula, and there could be other, smaller rocky planets orbiting the star with equally high proportions of carbon. Worlds with mountains made of diamond, covered with graphite dust instead of soil and tar pools instead of oceans.

Neat!
posted by Kevin Street at 2:43 PM on December 8, 2010


What could you use a shitload of cheap diamonds for?

Space elevators.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:17 PM on December 8, 2010


Mister Fabulous writes "We don't need no stinking diamonds... WE NEED COAL! FOSSIL FUELS FTW!"

Maybe I'm explaining the joke here but Diamonds are coal. Pure diamond fired fires would leave no ash behind; the waste product is 100% carbon dioxide.
posted by Mitheral at 4:45 PM on December 8, 2010



Maybe I'm explaining the joke here but Diamonds are coal. Pure diamond fired fires would leave no ash behind; the waste product is 100% carbon dioxide.
posted by Mitheral at 4:45 PM on December 8 [+] [!]

Fantasy-tastic
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:57 PM on December 8, 2010


Computer heatsinks. Diamond has the highest thermal transfer coefficient of any material on earth. 5x that of copper.
posted by inedible at 5:04 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have no input about planets made of diamonds or graphite, other than "neato!" but I am struggling for breath right now because at first glance I thought the FPP said "WASP - 12 lb has been discovered." Even though a second look cleared it up, I will be having nightmares for weeks about twelve pound wasps.
posted by Dojie at 5:29 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


A hot carbon-rich gas giant exoplanet

Why does that sound erotic to me?


Dunno. It sounds more like a pizza ad to me. Or exopizza.
posted by philipy at 6:09 PM on December 8, 2010


Computer heatsinks. Diamond has the highest thermal transfer coefficient of any material on earth.

True, but I don't think the most efficient way to make them is to mine them from some giganto-exoplanet light-years away. We've got plenty of carbon here, we just need nanotechnology to mature to the point where assembling diamond heat-sinks, windows, cars, light-sabers, toilets, bridges and buildings is as easy as pressing PRINT.
posted by pashdown at 8:56 PM on December 8, 2010


I want a planet made of PURE GOLD. And it better damn well not be some iron pyrite!!!1
posted by wierdo at 9:43 PM on December 8, 2010


3rd Rock from that Sun?
posted by gallagho at 3:29 AM on December 9, 2010


"This planet reveals the astounding diversity of worlds out there"

Perhaps even planets comprised entirely of NEIL DIAMOND.
posted by Tikirific at 4:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wake me up when they find the planet with the oceans of chocolate, and Megan Fox-doppelganger nymphomaniac mermaids. Priorities, people.
posted by dbiedny at 7:08 PM on December 9, 2010


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