Carbon Exoplanet Diamonds
Photo credit: Shim/ASU/Vecteezy
Arizona State University and the University of Chicago researchers have discovered that some carbon-rich exoplanets, given the right circumstances, could be composed of diamonds and silica. To test this hypothesis, the research team used high pressure diamond-anvil cells to mimic the interior of carbide exoplanets. They accomplished this by immersing silicon carbide in water and compressing the sample between diamonds to a very high pressure. Read more for two videos and additional information.

Laser heating then monitored the reaction and X-ray measurements were taken while the laser heated the sample at high pressures. Their hypothesis was accurate, as high heat and pressure caused the silicon carbide the react with water, thus turning into diamonds and silica.

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Regardless of habitability, this is one additional step in helping us understand and characterize our ever-increasing and improving observations of exoplanets. The more we learn, the better we’ll be able to interpret new data from upcoming future missions like the James Webb Space Telescope and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope to understand the worlds beyond our own solar system,” said lead author Harrison Allen-Sutter of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.