Does It Really Rain Diamonds On Saturn and Jupiter? These Scientists Certainly Seem To Think So

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We have heard of the occasional fish, tadpole and even spider raining down from the skies, but diamonds? That is definitely a first! Unfortunately, this miracle is not happening anywhere on earth but over 830 million miles (1.2 billion km) away, on Saturn and Jupiter.

At least that is what planetary scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Southern California seem to think after conducting extensive research, the results of which were presented at the 45th annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Scientists that was held in Denver, Colorado from October 6-11th, 2013.

According to Dr. Kevin Baines, the lead researcher on the project, over 1,000 tons of diamonds are being created every year on Saturn. Given that the ringed planet is too far to actually see this phenomenon, the initial reaction to this assertion is skepticism. But the scientist says that his team's conclusions are rooted in the basic principals of chemistry.

It is a well-known fact that about half of a percent of Saturn's atmosphere comprises of methane. Also, thanks to images sent in by NASA spacecraft Cassini, which has been orbiting the ringed planet since 2004, researchers know that Saturn is susceptible to giant lightning storms and even, hurricanes.

Using this information, Kevin and the study's co-author - planetary scientist Mona Delitsky, deduced that the lightning burns up the methane that is present in the atmosphere and transforms the odorless, colorless gas into something we are all familiar with - soot or carbon. As clouds of the black carbon are 'raining' down on the planet, they clump together and form graphite which gets subjected to intense pressure from the atmosphere as it gets closer to the planet's core and transforms into the shiny precious stones that we lovingly call diamonds. While Jupiter's atmosphere comprises of only 0.2% methane the scientists believe that a similar phenomenon occurs there too.

But before you try get the next shuttle out there, you should know that thanks to the extremely hot core of both these planets, the diamonds do not stay in solid form too long. Baines believes that they melt when they closer to the planet's surface, where temperatures exceed 8,000 Kelvin (13,940°F) and are most likely, transformed into other materials.

Not all scientists are convinced about this new study. University of Arizona planetary scientist William Hubbard thinks that due to the relatively low amount of methane in the atmosphere of the two planets, not enough soot is produced for diamond production - He thinks that whatever little is created, is destroyed by the ever increasing pressure and high temperatures encountered by the soot as it is falling.

This is not the first time scientists have speculated about diamond rain. Uranus and Neptune are long known to be diamond treasure troves. Not only does their atmosphere comprise of 15% methane, but also, the temperature does not get to over 3,820 Kelvin (6,416°F), the melting point of diamonds. This means that the precious stones that fall are most likely strewn all over the planets just waiting to be picked up! While this may be possible some day, for now it is just wishful thinking. Here's hoping that one day our skies will open up and spew out the shiny stuff too!

Resources: dailymail.co.uk, Nationalgeographic.com,Gizmondo.com

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854 Comments
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  • geniusTuesday, June 12, 2018 at 5:08 am
    if it didnt rain diamonds for the past 12 billion years what makes you think its going to start tommorrow
    • Lexi(smarty)Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 6:55 pm
      I would Love to have diamonds because then I will Be so rich and everyone will listen to me and do whatever I say For them to do
      • bellaskullz
        bellaskullzSunday, June 3, 2018 at 4:03 pm
        People seem to be more focused on the GOOD effects rather than the actual problem that this could produce if ever it rains diamonds on Earth. This article mentions several times that METHANE is in the atmosphere of these planets and is a compound material in the process of the makings for these diamonds and methane is deadly to humans in the event that we can't breathe it. Diamonds first come in the form of rock. And what does rock do when it falls on people? It deals damage. Think of it like sleet/hail or the movie Geostorm; there'd be mass destruction followed by large spendings on buildings, roadways, houses, etc. Many people's lives would be at stake every time it rained. Especially if it was UNPREDICTED or if people didn't come prepared. Last but not least, they're not talking about average diamonds that you'd see at stores like Zales where they sell pretty white diamonds. These are diamonds that haven't been cut. So selling UNCUT diamonds would get you nowhere as their value is nothing compared to a cut diamond.
        • WolfyFriday, May 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm
          I don't want it to rain diamonds on Earth. We actually have enough diamonds, they're barely rare but they are incredibly strong. There is quite a bunch of diamonds here on Earth, so they aren't really valuable anyways.
          • diamond loverThursday, May 17, 2018 at 6:31 pm
            I'd be rich if it rained diamonds on earth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            • A smart kidSaturday, April 21, 2018 at 2:56 am
              If it rained diamonds in Earth, diamonds would lose its value and become an everyday thing to us, instead a new element that is the next rarest would become the most wanted item. It is like, Water. Water isn't valuable (In most countries anyway) because there is so much of it.
              • PlexTuesday, April 10, 2018 at 11:36 am
                If it rained diamonds on Earth diamonds would become unvaluable due to the large supply of them.
                • hahahahaTuesday, April 10, 2018 at 8:23 am
                  can it rain on the earth
                  • ZigzagFriday, April 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm
                    Diamond raining on earth would make everybody rich It would be the best Everybody would have a home,food and everything they need
                    • yoloThursday, April 5, 2018 at 10:46 am
                      Man I wish it rains diamonds on earth

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