A new planet with a carbon-rich atmosphere could play host to mountains made of diamonds. Beam us up, Scotty.
Scientists say a newly found planet has the atmospheric composition to be made entirely out of diamonds.
The planet, WASP-12b, found in 2009, is a gas giant about 871 light-years from Earth. Scientists have found that the planet appears to have an unusually large amount of carbon in its atmosphere. Since diamonds form when carbon is compressed at extremely high temperatures, WASP-12b could be Planet Bling.
“The high carbon-to-oxygen ratio indicates a carbide or diamond interior rather than the silicate geology of the Earth,” Nikku Madhusudhan, an astrophysicist from Princeton University, told the Australian Broacasting Corp.
“This planet reveals the astounding diversity of worlds out there,” said Madhusudhan. “Carbon-rich planets would be exotic in every way – formation, interiors and atmospheres.”
Although some scientists aren’t entirely convinced. Simon O’Toole from the Australian Astronomical Observatory said the conclusions are based on limited information.
“The findings are interesting, but are based on just four data points,” O’Toole told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “I would proceed with caution.”