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NASA Looking For "Diamonds In The Sky"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the asteroid-mining-the-next-big-industry dept.

Space 101

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Scientist Charles Bauschlicher and his research team have found a new way to look for 'diamonds in the sky'. It may not be romantic, but diamonds shine especially brightly in the 3.4 to 3.5 micron and 6 to 10 micron infrared ranges, which should make NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope the perfect tool to see them with. Though less common and more monopolized on earth, diamonds are surprisingly common in outer space and the nanometer-sized bits comprise 3% of all the carbon found in meteorites. That means that if meteorite composition is representative of interstellar dust, that dust would contain about 10 quadrillion (1 * 10^16) nanodiamonds per gram."

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DeBeers should be happy (2, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580514)

A whole new marketing campaign suggests itself: "Give her the gift of the stars"

Or something like that, anyway.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (5, Funny)

Todd Fisher (680265) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580624)

A whole new marketing campaign suggests itself: "Give her the gift of the stars"

Because any woman worth marrying knows that if meteorite composition is representative of interstellar dust, that dust would contain about 10 quadrillion (1 * 10^16) nanodiamonds per gram.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (2, Funny)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22587530)

"Nanodiamonds. Invisible to the naked eye, because love is about trust."

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

phpmysqldev (1224624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590702)

Press Release: DeBeers announces today that it will be buying diamonds from the Rebels for Unified Federation Space (or RUF for short) DeBeers believes in the fight of RUF to free itself from evil killer space kittens trying to force their evil democracy on them. Diamond prices inexplicably rose as supplies increased... =X In an unrelated story DeBeers purchases huge warehouse surrounded by armed guards to "Not store surplus diamonds in so as to keep demand high"

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

Rosy At Random (820255) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580628)

Give her diamonds - they're pretty much all over the place and there for the taking!

Re:DeBeers should be happy (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580982)

They pretty much are on Earth already. There's nothing special about diamonds, really. DeBeers has spent decades convincing everyone how great they are because they've locked up the supply chain from end to end. Search on "blood diamonds" some time.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (4, Funny)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583230)

Yeah, but they're shiny.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585346)

They aren't shiny silly, they are sparkly.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586824)

Mmmmm, sparkly! (reaches for wallet)

Re:DeBeers should be happy (2, Funny)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588332)

So is a bass boat. Get her that for your wedding anniversary and see how well that goes over.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589484)

Hows that saying go? Wife says something has to go, it will be either the bass boat or her. Will take $5000 for either, you pick your misery.

Or was it, I got a new bass boat for my wife, Best trade I ever made.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599294)

Yeah, but they're shiny.

Not until some slave-labourer kid in a sweat shop in Bangalore has spent about 3 hours cutting the stone to shape and polishing it. Un-polished diamonds aren't called "rough" without good reason. They look like greyish pebbles with a moderate sheen on them. "Rock Crystal" quartz is far prettier. Compare these diamond [galleries.com] specimens with these rock crystal [galleries.com] specimens.

OK - I'm a geologist, so I might have different standards to the man on the Clapham omnibus. But I can imagine the result I'd get from giving the missus a diamond like that.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601062)

I had a great Geology course in college (I'm an ME) and it was very fun. We had a hard end of term project where we had to identify a box of rocks, had some good field trips to a local strip mine, so on. Definitely interesting and enlightening.

It probably helped that the course was taught by someone who had a real interest in the field.

Deepness in the sky by Vernor Vinge (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22584230)

he had some the size on mountains in that story, but I won't spoil it. Great read.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (2, Informative)

myth_of_sisyphus (818378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22584736)

DeBeers created the greatest marketing campaign in history. (recently voted on by marketing people.) Even children know that a man gives a woman a diamond before marriage. Which wasn't always the case. And they created the idea that second-hand diamonds are somehow inferior. A "diamond is forever" after all.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (2, Interesting)

wdebruij (239038) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585330)

Or read this great example of investigative reporting from 1982:
Have you ever tried to sell a diamond [theatlantic.com] .
It's all still true today (although you might have to swap some
country names here and there).

Even if you don't care about diamonds per se, the "gem" diamond business
is interesting for its unique economy and as an example of the power of
PR firms.

I will never by a "natural gem" in my life. Nothing says I love you like
pure zirkonium. Not that any woman would know the difference, anyway.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (2, Interesting)

antic (29198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585380)

You can bet that even if masses of diamonds from some extraterrestrial source flooded the market here, and the usual culprits weren't getting their usual share/control, that they'd bump up the marketing suggesting that those weren't the same, weren't as special, weren't as rare, etc. Witness the diamond testing systems that look for flaws to ascertain whether a gem is artificial. Crazy.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

tcolberg (998885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590050)

I can imagine a xenophobia developing combined with a nostalgia for "earthborn" items. First with diamonds, then people. Refer to Mass Effect for details.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586814)

I guess I'm lucky......
  1. I have a wife.....
  2. She prefers CZ over real diamonds any day
Screw you, DeBeers........

Re:DeBeers should be happy (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22595470)

CZ may be fine for wife, but Moissanite is a scientists best friend. since it's about as hard as a diamond, it can be used for 'hardness testing' it's also a semiconductor of temperature and electricity, making it perfect for high-stress electronics, where silicon would break... it's also sold as a jewel.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (5, Funny)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580662)

I gave her a Klein bottle of superheated hydrogen, and she just burst into flames... I mean, burst into tears. Tears.

Re:DeBeers should be happy (2, Funny)

dafrazzman (1246706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580834)

Some people buy stars or diamonds in space, but I'm smart enough to know that that sort of thing is a really impractical gift. I already bought a ranch on the moon for my future wife. Best. Gift. Ever.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22582156)

In other news today, Roskosmos, Russia's federal space agency, has announced an exclusive launch contract with DeBeers. DeBeers executives were unavailable for comment as their staff said they were "involved in urgent meetings with the heads of ESA and JAXA."

Meanwhile, NASA engineers said they have received instructions to modify the upcoming Hubble servicing mission, to be flown this fall aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, to now include the installation of a large jewelers loupe.

In Africa, we are receiving reports of an increase in kidnappings of able-bodied workers near the headquarters of the South African Space Agency

Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580532)

In his novel 2061: Odyssey Three [amazon.com] Arthur C. Clarke described the core of Jupiter as nearly solid diamond, formed by the enormous pressure of the gas giant's atmosphere. Is there any probability that this is true, or was it only a science-fiction author's imagination?

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (3, Informative)

mblase (200735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580592)

I'm pretty sure this was first mentioned in the book version of "2010: Odyssey Two", IIRC.

And he was basing it on serious scientific speculation, but no one has any way of knowing for sure.

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581022)

I'm pretty sure this was first mentioned in the book version of "2010: Odyssey Two", IIRC.

I second (pun intended) this. IIRC, Jupiter was converted into a sun, so there must have been discussion on its chemical composition. OTOH, 2061 was about Halley's comet.

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22581598)

While it may have been briefly mentioned in 2010, it was indeed a major plot point in 2061. After the part on Haley's comet, the main thrust of the book is that a ship has crashed landed on Europa (which was forbidden in 2010.) During the rescue attempt, a diamond mountain is discovered (and one of the characters short sells diamonds before anyone finds out.) The diamond mountain was basically ejected from Jupiter's core when it became a sun.

I can't believe I remember this.

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (1)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580672)

Wouldn't that leave us some serious questions about its magnetic field?

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (3, Interesting)

delibes (303485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580796)

Maybe - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BPM_37093 [wikipedia.org] But you're unlikely to get your hand on it. Still it's nice to imagine isn't it?

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22586908)

So, is this a techno-dance club star? I mean with a name BPM and it pulsating and all...

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580838)

Difficult to know for sure, there's certainly some chance there'd be significant diamond or silicon carbide layers, but it's probably mostly metallic hydrogen with an iron-and-radioactives "core" core (probably much like earth's only bigger, despite the other vast differences). Due to the reactivity of carbon and hydrogen, most carbon present is probably as hydrocarbons in the atmosphere.

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? No see here (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22581196)

No, the core of some gas giants is not always diamonds. If you read Arthur C. Clarke's next novel "20AT: Odyssey Four" he describes the core of Uranus as being mostly solid dark matter!

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (1)

TehDuffman (987864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581304)

SciFi author's do speak truth look at Scientology.

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (4, Informative)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581462)

Arthur C. Clarke noted that the idea that Jupiter's core was a gigantic diamond was inspired by an article [nature.com] in Nature which speculated that a solid layer observed in the compositions of Uranus and Neptune was composed of carbon liberated by intense pressure from methane.

Laboratory experiments [sciencemag.org] mimicking the temperatures and pressures found deep within those planets suggest diamond production is indeed possible, but would be more likely to be an agglomerate mass of diamond microcrystals than the yottacarat diamond solitaire envisioned by Clarke. Uranus and Neptune would probably make for better diamond production than Jupiter and Saturn due to a higher abundance of methane and thus carbon.

That being said, recent research suggests [newscientist.com] that Uranus and Neptune are not sufficiently carbon-rich to have produced an appreciable amount of diamond after all.

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22582786)

Why isn't anyone mining Uranus for diamonds, then? Seem that this would be the cheapest (and most profitable) space exploration possible!

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586706)

I'm not entirely sure that would be cheap! And then if you, in a magical world far in the future, create a viable constant mining business/supply chain from Uranus, you're dealing with the fact that you're creating increased supply so the price/value of diamond by definition goes down, unless demand outstrips supply.

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22587024)

swoosh!

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581534)

According to his end-notes, it was inspired by some theoretical paper, so at least somebody thought it was likely.

Re:Diamonds at the core of gas giants? (1)

ls -la (937805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583214)

If it were made of carbon, it would likely be diamond; however that is quite unlikely. It's most likely iron with some nickel mixed in like our core. And it probably is solid because of the pressure.

Maybe that explains... (5, Funny)

Zondar (32904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580534)

why my wife came home today with an application for the space program... and my name was already filled out at the top.

Re:Maybe that explains... (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580578)

Aha. That's a Clue.

I know who did it: Lucy, in the sky, with diamonds.

Re:Maybe that explains... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583400)

The LSD Church: fear!

Re:Maybe that explains... (1)

taupin (1047372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580784)

Are you sure diamonds are the reason she's trying to send you on a _dangerous_ mission ? ;-)

Re:Maybe that explains... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22581264)

My advice, pull a Hans Reiser on your shallow, useless wife.

Re:Maybe that explains... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22582698)

Hans did nothing wrong.
The fact that the Open Source community dropped him once it was speculated that he did a very anti-women's rights thing is disgusting.

Re:Maybe that explains... (1)

Agent__Smith (168715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583658)

DaBeers may now start blackmailing and muscling in on NASA...

Re:Maybe that explains... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588180)

I just hope Weyland-Yutani honors my claim.

Asimov would be pleased (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580554)

Sci-fi story stereotype: mining asteroids or planets, as part of the backstory to give a character a job.
So now that person actually has a reason to be doing that. :)

Re:Asimov would be pleased (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580728)

Larry Niven already described a sociey of asteroid belt miners in great depth in his Known Space stories of the 1960s and 1970s. Similarly, Michael Flynn had asteroid mining as one of the big commercial ventures that popped up when private corporations finally got up into orbit. Even without diamonds, there's enough precious metals up there that the notion of space miners has fired the imagination of many science-fiction writers.

Re:Asimov would be pleased (5, Insightful)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580986)

Actually, diamonds probably aren't worth the trouble of asteroid mining. Crushed diamond powder is cheap and plentiful right here on earth. It's only the larger chunks of diamond that are valued much, and even those aren't in short supply. The price of diamonds is only as high as it is because a cartel of the major producers work in collusion to keep the prices up. I suppose diamonds from asteroid mining might force them to lower their prices a bit, but it's unlikely that mining asteroids for diamonds could successfully compete with earth based diamond mining.
Quite possibly if we do end up with asteroid miners, they'll be throwing away cheap carbon compounds like diamonds, in favor of useful ores like iron or nickel.

Re:Asimov would be pleased (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586730)

Quite possibly if we do end up with asteroid miners, they'll be throwing away cheap carbon compounds like diamonds, in favor of useful ores like iron or nickel.

Iron and nickel are extremely cheap and plentiful on earth. If it's mined for return to earth as a paying mining project, it won't be iron and nickel. As it is, only Helium-3 is worth going to space to mine, and I'm not sure I even believe that's viable. First, it assumes that fusion power is viable, it may be but it may take a long time to become commercially viable. Second, one of the most expensive parts of space exploration is the fuel/energy needed to get into and escape earth's orbit, and it's the energy that we want to get back.

Re:Asimov would be pleased (1)

tcolberg (998885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590340)

Is not most of the Helium 3 present on space-borne objects due to the ejecta of the sun? IIRC, that's why Helium 3 is plentiful and only in the regolith of the Moon.

Asteroids may not have a similar layer of dust to adequately collect Helium 3. Asteroids are better for ores and rare earths that are in short supply or are too difficult to mine, such as copper, platinum, palladium, and perhaps uranium. Even though these materials would be valuable, it will probably be too inefficient to mine asteroids that aren't in Earth orbit or near any future colonies (Moon or Mars orbit). All the more incentive to research new propulsion technologies and near-earth asteroid deflection.

utopia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580582)

Oh great, now we have to deal with an army of heads inside spheres and 'The Master'.
Hope the doctor turns up in time ( which for a timelord shouldn't be difficult )

Wow... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580632)

In other news DeBeers has announced plans to launch millions of poverty stricken Africans into space. They'll be equipped with 60 minutes of oxygen and lunch box sized capsules capable of reentering Earths atmosphere.

Dear mods... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22583794)

Please note that ACs don't need karma. Therefore, there is no harm in modding them "funny" when their post is clearly not serious.

And even if it wasn't an AC, you can always use "underrated" to give them karma, assuming someone has modded them funny to begin with.

Re:Wow... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588152)

Starvin' Marvin in space, you say?

Diamonds, Sky (4, Funny)

kailoran (887304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580640)

Are they looking for Lucy too?

Re:Diamonds, Sky (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581004)

when they find one they will find the other...

Lucy in the sky with diamonds...

Re:Diamonds, Sky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22585772)

lol, so dumb.

BPM 37093 (1)

TarZ (954747) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583278)

Lucy in the Sky [wikipedia.org] now.

dark star (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22586984)

transitive nightfall
of diamonds...

Re:Diamonds, Sky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589770)

Hmm.. maybe the successor spacecraft to Spitzer should be some designated some mangled backronym [wikipedia.org] (in typical NASA fashion) that abbreviates to "LUCY". That would be mildly humorous.

When you find diamonds in the sky (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580642)

then you'll find Lucy, in the sky, with diamonds.......

not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580654)

"surprisingly"? Against popular marketing claims, diamonds arent rare.

Nanodiamonds (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580688)

What are the uses for nanodiamonds? Can you glue them together for a "big" rock?

It means that you can get a diamond engagement.. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580718)

.. ring for a dollar. She can show her friends it and tell them it's diamond, and you're only out of pocket by the cost of half a beer.

Re:It means that you can get a diamond engagement. (1)

Mantaar (1139339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581750)

by the cost of half a beer.
Pun intended?

Re:Nanodiamonds (5, Informative)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580802)

You can make great sandpaper.

Re:Nanodiamonds (4, Informative)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581740)

Yes, diamond powder is great for grinding and polishing hard things, like silicon wafers.

Industrial diamond is manufactured cheaply. You can even find it on eBay for a couple of bucks a carat.

The trick is getting a consistent grit/mesh/size so that you know how polished you can make your wafers.

I worked with a guy in the 80's who had a side business making diamond grinding compounds for customers in the bay area - he would pre-load his secret mixture into grease-guns he bought at Sears. They were single use, he told me. I don't remember why, something about screwing up the seals, or maybe a used grease gun put contaminates in the grinding goop... anyhow he made really good money at it for some reason, there must have been more to it than meets the eye. He was a retired nuclear physicist, so he knew what he was doing, when it came to small particles.

Re:Nanodiamonds (2, Funny)

streptocopter (1052066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22584174)

I worked with a guy in the 80's who had a side business making diamond grinding compounds for customers in the bay area - he would pre-load his secret mixture into grease-guns he bought at Sears. They were single use, he told me. I don't remember why, something about screwing up the seals, or maybe a used grease gun put contaminates in the grinding goop... anyhow he made really good money at it for some reason, there must have been more to it than meets the eye. He was a retired nuclear physicist, so he knew what he was doing, when it came to small particles.
Dude! I know this guy, you and I have so totally worked in the same meth lab!

Re: Nanodiamonds (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580828)

You know Mama don't want no diamond where she needs a microscope to check it out.

Re:Nanodiamonds (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581018)

Might be useful as a coating; of course the other thing is have we looked on Earth for them? They might be more common terrestrially than we though too.

Diamond are *not* uncommon on Earth (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580866)

That is the great lie the diamond industry wants you to believe. Ask any geologist. Diamonds are very common.

Basketball Jones (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580906)

The basketball sized ones are!

Re:Basketball Jones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580992)

You can't put a basketball sized one on a ring. I suppose you could put a ring on a basketball sized one, but marble sized ones are obnoxious enough.

Anyway, GP is right, diamonds are artificially scarce. Should be cheap as (high quality, non-bulk) dirt. Or at least much closer to that then their current costs.

More useful measurement? (4, Funny)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580988)

So what does that work out to in carets per cubic parsec?

Re:More useful measurement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22581586)

So what does that work out to in carets per cubic parsec?
Um, eight and a half Libraries of Congress?

Re:More useful measurement? (2, Interesting)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22584700)

Taking the density of diamond to be 3.5 grams per cubic centimeter, and these diamonds to each have a volume of about 1 cubic nanometer, the average interstellar nanodiamond has a carat weight of 1.75*10^-20 carats (One carat is 200 milligrams). The interstellar molecular clouds where we would expect to find these diamonds have a density [princeton.edu] of about 2 x 10^-22 grams per cubic centimeter; one cubic centimeter is about 3.4*10^-56 cubic parsecs, so there are about 5.9*10^33 grams of matter in a cubic parsec.

Using the figure from the article, we could then expect there to be as many as 5.9*10^49 diamonds in a cubic parsec, with a total mass of 2×10^26 kilograms, and a total carat weight around 10^30 carats in a cubic parsec. Alas, not exactly gem quality material.

Some notes:
A well-formed 1 cubic nanometer diamond crystal would have about 175 carbon atoms total.

Our solar system has a total mass of about 2*10^30 kg, 99.8% of which is the sun.

The mass of the earth is about 6*10^24 kilograms.

If split among the population of earth, your share of the diamonds in a cubic parsec molecular cloud comes to about 30 trillion tons.

If you merged all the nanoscale diamonds in a cubic parsec molecular cloud into a single diamond, it would have a volume of 5.7*10^13 cubic km, about 50 times that of the earth.

The Beatles will be proud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22581052)

Now they just need to find Lucy

What is the danger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22581214)

What is the danger from nanodiamonds? Will they have enough kinetic energy to pierce a spacesuit? A helmet? A spacecraft? Can they kill a satellite, like say a TV relay in the Clarke belt?

Re:What is the danger? (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583872)

Seems to me that if diamond dust is that prevalent, then many spacecraft and satellites must experience a high rate of surface erosion. And in the long run lenses on satellites doing optical surveillance would get pitted. And solar panels get frosted. Does anyone know if this happens? And more important, on my next trip to Beta Gamma Orion IV, if the greys don't have shields, will the dome get scratched? And does my Galactic State Farm policy cover this?

Re:What is the danger? (1)

Fifth Earth (1172333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22595416)

I'd say it definitely happens, and not just because of diamond dust--pretty much all the dust in space would do it. That said, "prevalent" is a relative term. Space is still pretty incomprehensibly empty, even in the really "dirty" parts. See http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/dust_storm_030814.html [space.com] where a "dust storm" is described as being the impact of 12 particles of dust per square meter per day.

...and?? (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581258)

So more than one allotrope of one of the most common elements in the Universe, carbon, is present in interplanetary and interstellar space.

Well, duh. It would be shocking if there weren't any carbon in the form of diamond out there. That fact would take some serious explaining.

And, er, so what? Obviously no one will ever mine diamonds in outer space, inasmuch as the cost to transport miners to them and the mined diamonds back utterly dwarfs the value of the diamonds, or even the cost to manufacture them. Nor can I think of any interesting astrophysical theories that would be disproved by any particular interplanetary distribution of carbon allotropes.

One of the least interesting stories I've seen on /. in a while.

Re:...and?? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585378)

Might be useful if you need diamond dust in space for something and don't want to spend the energy to lift it off the Earth though.

Re:...and?? (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593992)

In a future in which there is some vast civilization among the asteroids, yes. But I think certainly within my lifetime, and that of my children, it will be far cheaper to bring along a little diamond dust than the tools, equipment, and fuel necessary to do a little mining along with whatever else you're doing.

It's not clear to me that diamond is all that useful, anyway. The best use of it I can imagine is for super high quality windows for optical, UV and IR instruments. But for that you need very pure diamond in nice shapes, which is probably much easier to make -- even in space -- by CVD deposition starting from a lump of graphite.

Re:...and?? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22594418)

Perhaps it would be useful for mining equipment?

My sweetheart and that big fight centuries ago.... (1)

prajjwal (965508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581724)

Centuries ago, when we had hurt each other so bitterly, I had flung her to outer space, with all the diamonds I had bestowed upon her, and though I brought her back eventually, the diamonds had been broken into pieces and scattered far and wide..... oh well.... seems NASA is starting to look for them.. she will be happy :)

Here I thought SUPERDIAMOND was just a band (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22581852)

So what about harder diamonds forged from higher pressure planets?? We would need a natural one I'm guessing to make an artificial super diamond.

In other news I regret walking past that deep-sea fish tooth as a child, like I will get another chance to own a crysknife.

That could be pretty rough... finding diamonds (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581868)

in the rough...

Contrary to popular belief (3, Informative)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22582150)

Diamonds are not scarce by any means on earth, it's simply a front put up by the DeBeers company.

Lucy? (1)

bandersnatch (176074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22582182)

They should first search in the sky for Lucy. I have heard that she is always accompanied by diamonds.

Ian Van Dahl (1)

Classic_gamer (866549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583002)

Oh tell me why do we build diamonds in the sky

You know what they say.. (1)

myrmidon666 (1228658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583004)

Diamonds. That'll shut her up!!

Re:You know what they say.. (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589976)

No, the phrase is:


Diamonds... she'll pretty much have to.

For reference [youtube.com]

I can't believe I have to link to YouBube to find the example.

Twinkle twinkle little star... (2, Funny)

prajjwal (965508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583126)

NASA found out just now.. I knew that from my nursery rhymes :D

Give her the Universe (1)

GottliebPins (1113707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22583356)

Tell her you'd give her the Universe, but all you could afford was a nanodiamond, so small you'd need a telescope to see it.

Why bother (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22584818)

We have come a long way in synthetic diamond production. It would be way cheaper to refine that technology thanit would be to try scouring space for what is literally diamond dust.

Diamonds Rare on Earth? (1)

bbitmaster (1028244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22591446)

Funny how The article starts out saying "Diamonds may be rare on Earth" We all know this is a lie that De Beers has propagated so they can charge outrageous prices. Diamonds are actually fairly common in certain places. Apparently they have the Jet Propulsion Laboratory fooled as well, because this article appears on their site.
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