An alien Planet Made of Diamonds
“We thought that old stars don’t have enough solid material yet to form many rocky planets and hence habitable rocky planets around older stars would be scarce. Probably we were wrong about that. When we are thinking about searching for habitable planets, we shouldn’t discount the very old stars,” (Astronomer Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, to Discovery News, 2 June 2014).
Bizarre things about the mega-earth don’t stop at its mass. The star this monster is orbiting is very old—at least 11 billion years located about 560 light years from Earth in the Draco constellation. How a star that old could put together all heavy elements necessary to form such a massive planet is just another of the unsolved mysteries astrophysicists faces. Odds are, there’s far more looming in the depth of the universe. What’s more important, this discovery changes once again our expectations about what planetary systems are, and open up new possibilities about alien life. It may be more abundant that we originally thought—and so are the imaginable combinations of star systems in our galaxy.