Diamond Planets and Cookie Monsters in Space?
There is a planet made out of diamonds. Out. Of. Diamonds This strange planetoid of bling-bling (dubbed 55 Cancri e by its discoverers) has a carbon-based composition containing an outer layer of DIAMOND (sorry, it's just kind of nuts) that composes nearly a third of the planet's mass. 55 Cancri e's radius and mass has been determined to be roughly eight times that of earth, so by our calculations, that's approximately enough diamonds to encrust three hundred trillion Lil' John cups.
The lead researcher, Yale physicist Nikku Madhusudhan, classifies this planet as a "Super Earth" and had this to say of their discovery: "The idea that rocky planets elsewhere could have completely different chemical compositions from Earth—it was very hard to get over that mental block. We had to get rid of that bias and start looking at other compositions.” And he added: "The carbon-rich composition of 55 Cancri e suggests the presence of large amounts of diamond on the planet. Since the planet’s orbiting period is 18 days, as opposed to Earth’s 365 days, the surface temperature of the planet is approximately 4000 degrees Farenheit. These high temperature and high pressure conditions favor diamond formation."
Now, perhaps this planet that would serve as an excellent setting for a futuristic remake of Blood Diamond is strange on its own, but how about the thought of a giant Sesame Street muppet on the face of one of our planetary neighbors? Well, take a look at this insane photo of the Cookie Monster's face on the surface of Mercury. Scientists claim it's an impact basin abutted by two smaller craters, but could it be the work of an ancient race of googley-eyed monsters that journeyed to this planet centuries ago inside of ships powered by diamonds harvested on 55 Cancri e? On this matter NASA has remained suspiciously silent, despite the fact that upon close look at the photo, there are clearly what appears to be giant cookie crumbs all over the crater.
What other crazy space discoveries are we in store for in the coming years? Will the moons of Jupiter be found to be comprised of golden Unicorn dust? Teletubbies on Mars? That black holes are made from black hole cake? Yes, we know that the moon is not made out of green cheese, but could it maybe, just maybe be a giant chocolate chip cookie? Only time will tell.