Earth-Like Planet Composed of Diamonds?

This artist’s concept contrasts our familiar Earth with the exceptionally strange planet known as 55 Cancri e. While it is only about twice the size of the Earth, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has gathered surprising new details about this supersized a


An exoplanet about double the size of Earth was discovered back in 2004. Further analysis showed 55 Cancri e’s chemistry to be quite unique from anything we’ve seen before, its rocky layers composed largely of pure diamond. SPACE reports on the new paper appearing in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

From the article:

“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.”



External link: Super-Earth Planet Likely Made of Diamond

Feature image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)