Researchers discover planet that is twice Earth’s size and made of granite and diamonds

// October 12th, 2012 // Astronomy and Space News


Diamond planetResearchers from Yale University have found a rocky planet, about 40 light years away from Earth, that is roughly twice the size of Earth and made primarily of granite and diamonds.

“This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth. The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite.”

The planet, called 55 Cancri e, has a mass eight times greater than Earth and is one of five planets orbiting a sun-like star, 55 Cancri. Scientists were only recently able to measure its radius and combined with an estimate of its mass, allowed them to run calculations using models of its interior, to estimate all possible combinations of elements and compounds. They estimate that at least a third of the planet’s mass could be diamond.

The temperature at the surface of the planet is about 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit. Mining the diamonds may pose a challenge.

Sources: NBC, Haven Giguere, Fox, CBS
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