Newly Discovered Super-Earth Is Made Of Diamonds?

Newly Discovered Super-Earth Is Made Of Diamonds?Move over, Hope Diamond. The most famous gems on Earth have new competition in the form of a planet made largely of diamond, astronomers say.

The alien planet, a so-called “super-Earth,” is called 55 Cancri e and was discovered in 2004 around a nearby star in our Milky Way galaxy. After estimating the planet’s mass and radius, and studying its host star’s composition, scientists now say the rocky world is composed mainly of carbon (in the form of diamond and graphite), as well as iron, silicon carbide, and potentially silicates.

‘Pure Diamond’

At least a third of the planet’s mass is likely pure diamond. 55 Cancri e is what’s known as a super-Earth, with a radius twice as wide as that of our own planet, and a mass eight times greater. It speeds around its host star, making a full orbit in just 18 hours (Earth takes 365 days). It is so close in to the star that its surface temperature reaches a scorching 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit (2,100 degrees Celsius), making it probably way too hot for life.


The revelation of the planet’s diamond nature means that it could have very different thermal evolution and plate tectonics processes than Earth, which could create bizarre types of volcanism, seismic activity, and mountain formation.

‘Visible to the Naked Eye’

55 Cancri e is one of five planets encircling a sun-like star called 55 Cancri, which lies about 40 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cancer. This star is so close it is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. A paper reporting the new findings has been accepted for publication in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Could a “diamond planet” really exist? Do you think there are other planets out there made of other types of precious gems? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas regarding this new bright discovery!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: The Nation

World’s Biggest Aircraft to Bring Passengers to Space

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced Tuesday his plan to create a company that will bring “airport-like operations” to private spaceflight –thanks to the world’s biggest aircraft.

The business magnate is teaming up with Burt Rutan, the aerospace engineer that developed the original SpaceShipOne — the first privately funded, manned rocket ship to fly beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Looking to build on that success, Stratolaunch Systems promises to bring greater safety, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility to space travel.

“For the first time since John Glenn, America cannot fly its own astronauts into space,” Allen said, noting the recent final flight by the space shuttle and the elimination of the Constellation program, which would have built a successor craft. “By the end of this decade, Stratolaunch will be putting spacecraft into orbit.”

The new space system will be focused on carrying commercial and government cargo into space, but Rutan and Allen hope it will eventually carry human cargo as well. The company’s motto: Any orbit, any time.

The idea between Stratolaunch’s “mobile-launch” system isn’t new. In fact, it’s similar to the one used for Rutan’s earlier craft SpaceShipOne, which requires a “mothership” to carry it into the air before it is released for air-launch. The biggest advantages of the air-launch-to-orbit system will be Stratolaunch’s quick turnaround between launches. This means  lower costs and more potential flights. The first test flight is planned for the beginning of 2016.

 

 

Source: Fox News

Image: Gizmodo.com