(Submitted April 16, 1997)
Do scientists still believe diamonds may be "found" at center of Uranus?
The theoretical consideration of a diamond at the core of the gas
giant planets of the solar system has been around for over a decade.
One of the first papers I can find is:
Title: High pressure cosmochemistry applied to major planetary interiors:
Authors: NICOL, M. F.; JOHNSON, M.; KOUMVAKALIS, A. S.
Affiliation: California Univ., Los Angeles.
Journal: Status Report California Univ., Los Angeles. Dept. of Chemistry
Publication Date: 11/1984
though a coworker and I both recall a 1982(?) paper entitled "Lucy in
the Sky with Diamonds" which I couldn't find a reference to.
I believe that the possibility was first applied to Jupiter, but later
extended to all the outer gas giants of the solar system.
Most of the chemical research involving diamonds in the solar system
(outside of the Earth) deals with microdiamonds found in asteroids (and
hence meteors and meteorites). These are created in the high heat and
pressure of the collisions which create these rocky fragments.
Galileo, a recent NASA mission to the planet Jupiter, fired a small
probe into Jupiter's atmosphere. The probe was never meant to
survive long enough to reach any possible solid core, so it couldn't
really provide any proof of the theories that diamonds might exist
at the center of planets like Jupiter. Still, you might want to check
out their homepage at:
for the Ask an Astrophysicist Team
Questions on this topic are no longer responded to by the "Ask an Astrophysicist" service. See http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/ask_an_astronomer.html
for help on other astronomy Q&A services.