Question of the Week Podcast

Question of the Week episode

Wed, 14th Aug 2013

Could other planets make a substance like diamond?

DiamondView image of a natural diamond (c) Philip Martineau

Could other planets make a substance like diamond? We ask a deep space mining expert.

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In this edition of Question of the Week

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  • Could diamonds be mined in space?

    "Diamonds are made deep underground when the carbon is subject to high pressure and heat. Is there any way that other elements could be used to make an even harder type of diamond? I was thinking if the elements were present in similar conditions on other planets where the pre...



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this leads me to another thought. diamonds are made from carbon at high heat and pressure so then if a plaint has a high level of carbon with a higher amount of heat and pressure than Earth can we get a  carbon compound harder than diamond? Or is diamond as hard as carbon can get? allgoaway, Mon, 2nd Sep 2013

Hello allgoaway, at least by the indentation test there are some materials that appear to be harder than diamond: Harder than Diamond: Superior Indentation Strength of Wurtzite BN and Lonsdaleite

Sometimes very tiny diamonds and lonsdaleite crystals are found in a class of meteorites called ureilites. An unforgettable property to those that have cut slices of such meteorites with diamond saw blades, a very slow and difficult process. This study suggests a shock origin: Transformation of graphite to lonsdaleite and diamond in the Goalpara ureilite directly observed by TEM distimpson, Tue, 3rd Sep 2013

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