It has been recently speculated that Earth’s closest planetary neighbor, Mercury, has a surface littered with diamonds. Mercury has a long history of being victim to comets, asteroids, and meteorites. The frequent impacts create high heat and pressure on Mercury’s carbon surface, which allows for diamonds to emerge. Planetary scientist Kevin Cannon estimates that there could be up to 16 quadrillion tons of diamonds on the planet, which is over 16 times what we have on Earth. Since diamonds have an extremely high melting point, it’s unlikely that they would have been destroyed in subsequent impacts. The next opportunity to test this theory will be in 2025 when the BepiColombo spacecraft will reach Mercury. Astronauts can test the planet for infrared light, which is reflected by diamonds.
Image via European Space Agency
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