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Diamonds in Space

Mountains of diamonds, free for the taking? Astronomers say a planet like this may someday be discovered orbiting a newly-discovered nearby star.

Ker Than writes in space.com that astronomers have detected large amounts of carbon gas in a newly forming solar system around Beta Pictoris, a young star that nearby. This means that in a few million years, planets could form around this star that, according to astronomer Marc Kuchner, might be ?covered with tar and smog,? but which could ALSO harbor "mountains made from giant diamonds." He adds, "Life on such a planet is not implausible, but it certainly would be exotic."

Why is the earth so much richer in the materials that encourage the development of life? Scientists think that the asteroids and comets the hit earth for a couple of million years after it formed brought with them almost virtually all of the water and organic material that makes life possible here. If any of this material came from Mars, as many astronomers think it did, then we can say that we are really Martians.

Unlike Helim 3, the precious substance we need to mine from the moon, we won't have to resort to space travel to mine diamonds, because we now know how to create them. The value of mined diamonds is due to their scarcity, which has been by artificially created through rationing by a single company: De Beers in South Africa.

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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