Un-canny

By WJG

September 16, 2022

People would want precious stones as much as money to rain for obvious reason. The good news is that scientists have found that the former is possible.

Astronomers are already aware of the strange precipitation occuring deep inside Uranus and Neptune that they dubbed “diamond rain,” Agence France-Presse reported.

They theorized that high pressure and temperatures turn hydrogen and carbon into diamonds.

“The oxygen that is present in large amounts on those planets really helps suck away the hydrogen atoms from the carbon, so it’s actually easier for those diamonds to form,” German physicist Dominik Kraus of HZDR research lab explained, according to AFP.

A team of scientists led by Kraus then replicated the process in an experiment. The team turned a high-powered optical laser on PET plastic, which is used for everyday food packaging and bottles, at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. They then used “very, very short X-ray flashes of incredible brightness” to watch nanodiamonds — tiny diamonds too small to see with the naked eye — form, Kraus told AFP.

However, the findings, which have been published in the journal Science Advances, apply only on planets outside the Solar System that are like the two gas giants. So treasure hunters still have to use the traditional mining method to source diamonds on Earth until they are capable of space travel.

One challenge of traditional diamond mining is blowing up a lot of carbon layers deep underground just to extract small amounts of the gemstone, like in gold panning. Sometimes, those rocks may not even yield tiny diamonds, a missed opportunity aptly described by the local saying “pera na, naging bato pa.”

WITH AFP


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