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The Bling Planets

The Bling Planets

 

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Methane appears gray-green in this enhanced image. Methane haze gas gives Neptune its blue-green color. The planet’s moons Proteus, Larissa, Galatea and Despina appear in the image.

Amazing But True!

  • Carbon is found as methane in the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune. Diamonds are a condensed form of carbon.
  • Diamonds are made in extremely high temperatures and pressures. They are known to be formed in the Earth's mantle.
  • Some speculate that the atmosphere around the gas giants is also conducive to creating diamonds.
  • Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
    Source: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=1616
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Diamonds next to a star in space [Figure2]

     

  • The diamonds sink toward the center of the planets and may make up part of the core.

Explore More

With the links below, learn more about diamonds on other planets. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why do scientists think that Uranus and Neptune have diamonds deep in their interiors?
  2. How do diamonds form on Uranus, Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn?
  3. Where do the diamonds go after they’ve formed?
  4. How do scientists create conditions in a laboratory like those that exist on Neptune?
  5. What are a few of the reasons that it’s unlikely that humans will one day mine diamonds from one of these planets?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Source: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=1616; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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