When we learned that the Mars Curiosity Rover had discovered a “shiny object” while searching the red planet, we worried that Mars would be the first planet saddled with human colonization–and we haven’t even established a Prime Directive yet! But with news today that Yale University scientists have discovered a nearby planet with a mantle made of diamonds, we’re picturing a California gold rush-style mission to its surface. Ready your engines, Richard Branson.
The planet, which also has the completely badass moniker of “super-earth,” is called 55 Cancri e. When it was initially discovered, scientists believed that its mantle was made out of water, but upon further inspection realized it is actually comprised of graphite and diamonds. To quote one Tom Haverford: $$$wag!
ExtremeTech explains what makes the diamond planet possible:
But why is 55 Cancri e made out of diamonds? Because the star system itself is primarily made up of carbon, iron, and silicon — and over millions of years of pressure and heat, the planet’s carbon mantle has slowly turned into diamond. The Yale scientists estimate that as much as one third of 55 Cancri e’s mass is made up of diamond — the same as three Earth masses, or roughly 18×1024kg. This is a few trillion times more diamond than has ever been mined on Earth.
NASA is reportedly keeping a close eye on Jennifer Aniston, who is rumored to be attempting to purchase the planet to wear on her left ring finger.