Are There Diamond Planets?
Recently, there has been considerable interest in the idea that the first habitable worlds to form were carbon planets. That is, they might have consisted mostly of graphite, carbides, and diamond.
Harvard University graduate student Natalie Mashian led the research. She said in a statement:
"This work shows that even stars with a tiny fraction of the carbon in our solar system can host planets. We have good reason to believe that alien life will be carbon-based, like life on Earth, so this also bodes well for the possibility of life in the early universe."
Mashian and her PhD thesis advisor Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics examined a particular class of ancient stars known as carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars, or CEMP stars. These stars contain only one hundred-thousandth as much iron as our sun.
The astronomers explained in their statement that – because the universe was born with mostly hydrogen and helium, with heavier elements born inside stars and spread throughout space via supernova explosions – they know the metal-poor stars in their study were born early in the history of our universe.
That is, they were born before the interstellar space had been widely seeded with heavy elements
Past generations of science fiction fans would not be surprised by this theory. In The Great Stone of Sardis, an 1897 novel by Frank Stockton, the Earth itself is found to consist primarily of diamond!
"It is a mass of solid diamond!"
Margaret screamed. She could not say one word.
"Yes," said he, "I believe the whole central portion of the earth is one great diamond. When it was moving about in its orbit as a comet, the light of the sun streamed through this diamond and spread an enormous tail out into space; after a time this nucleus began to burn."
"Burn!" exclaimed Margaret.
"Yes, the diamond is almost pure carbon; why should it not burn? It burned and burned and burned. Ashes formed upon it and encircled it; still it burned, and when it was entirely covered with its ashes it ceased to be transparent, it ceased to be a comet; it became a planet, and revolved in a different orbit. Still it burned within its covering of ashes, and these gradually changed to rock, to metal, to everything that forms the crust of the earth." She gazed upon him, entranced.
Via Universe’s first life on diamond planets?.
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