Pennies from Heaven? How about DIAMONDS?
Scientists theorize that diamond rainfalls could be occurring on planets Jupiter, Saturn
Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven, the old song from Depression-era America used to say. According to some scientists, our friends in the solar system Jupiter and Saturn have the planet Earth beat with rainfalls of diamonds. According to researchers, these two planets' atmospheres could be filled with huge chunks of diamonds that could one day be taken back to Earth.
Artwork for the book "Alien Seas" shows robot hands reaching out to capture diamonds and collect them for transport to Earth.
The average diamond could be as much as a centimeter in diameter, but some may grow so large that they could be described as "diamond-bergs," scientists say.
Scientists Mona Delitsky of California Specialty Engineering and Kevin Baines of the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted the research, who attempted to trace the fate of soot as it sinks downward on both planets.
Both scientists think the diamonds are formed by lightning storms which turn methane into carbon soot. As this carbon falls, it solidifies into pieces of graphite and then is transformed into a diamond.
Baines and Delitsky in their recent book, "Alien Seas," features a chapter entitled "The Seas of Saturn." The chapter describes robot mining ships plying the deep interior of Saturn in the far distant future and collecting chunks of diamonds. The artwork shows robot hands reaching out to capture diamonds and collect them for transport to Earth.
The downfall of all these precious gems is the fact that the diamonds continue to to fall and the extreme pressure and temperature would send the diamonds either shattering or melting away.
It's uncertain what happens to carbon down there, but one possibility the scientists are suggesting is that a "sea" of liquid diamond could form.
Diamonds have long been deemed as stable in the cores of Uranus and Neptune. Jupiter and Saturn were thought to be too hot to have conditions suitable for precipitation of solid diamond.
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