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It's raining diamonds on Neptune & Uranus 117

Alec Muzzy writes "The U of C of Berkeley has reported that on Neptune the intense heat and pressure of the atmosphere likely creates diamonds out of methane which then fall like hail on the gas giant. " Interesting reasons why - but isn't it a Arthur C. Clarke book that postulates, back in the 80s, that the center of of the gas giants are enormous diamonds - like the size of the earth?
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It's raining diamonds on Neptune & Uranus

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...that the moon's surface is composed primarily of green cheese. Of course, now that we've been there, we know it is made primarily of flour, green gelatin, and olestra.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it wasn't for DeBeers (sp?) we wouldn't have the high prices we have now. They have been hoarding and buying up diamonads to decrease the supply to the consumer and drive up prices for years.

    I guess a diamond will be forever, if DeBeers buys it.
  • There is nothing inherently valuable about diamonds right here on earth. The supply and distribution of diamonds is rigidly controlled by DeBeers in order to maintain artificially high prices. The diamond business is quite odd - you should investigate it sometime. Diamond distributors must take what they are given, and the prices are always artificially high.

    Rumors persist that Russia maintains huge caches of cut diamonds that have not been released onto the market, most likely in exchange for some sort of payment from DeBeers.

    Even if the Russians did flood the market just to spite DeBeers, it would be detrimental for them as well, as the increased supply would lower prices considerably.

    Not to insult the happy brides of the world, but if supply and demand really ruled the market for diamonds, their rings would probably lose 90% of their value.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Methane is CH4. One carbon in the middle surrounded by four hydrogens, arranged in a tetrahedron. Diamond is tetrahedronal structure -- one C in middle surrounded by 4 other C's in tetrahedron, each C in turn surrounded by four other C's, each of which is surrounded by 4 other C's, each of which is surrounded by 4 other C's ..... etc, etc, etc, this is the formation of a tetrahedronal "fabric" matrix. Under extreme heat and pressure, the CH4 dissociates, leaving one C nucleus plus 4 H nuclei (protons) swimming in electron soup. When temp and pressure subside at the proper pace, the protons find enough electrons to pair up as H2 molecules and the carbons either settle into a nice tetrahedronal matrix if you're lucky, forming diamond crystal, or if you're unlucky, a pile of graphite flakes which you can then use to lube your key locks or brake and gear shifter cables on your mountain bike.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Considering the pressure and temperature necessary to create diamonds in this way, as well as the expense of interstellar travel and the fact that the diamonds formed in the experiment were in the form of diamond dust, I don't expect to see any diamond-harvesting missions to the outer planets any time soon. It would probably be cheaper and easier to manufacture diamonds here on Earth.

    This is still useful information, though, as it may explain Neptune's strong internal energy source.

    --- Brian
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 1999 @05:54AM (#1640864)
    This story presents a perfect opportunity to point out to people that Diamonds are not particularly rare. There is a myth of scarcity fabricated by the DeBeers cartel, to keep the price of diamonds up. Obviously we don't find diamonds out in the driveway, so they are not a common rock, but the DeBeers cartel has cornered the market on raw diamonds as mined from the earth, and they lock away most of the annual output of these rocks.

    Diamonds are the same kind of valuable item as Beanie Babies, for much the same reason. Don't ever rely on them as an investment vehicle. There are other precious minerals which are far more secure, whose value is not dependent on the arbitrary actions of a single corporate interest.

    The on-topic gist of this message I am typing is to make clear to everyone that no, we shouldn't shoot off into space to grab all the diamonds in space. All we need to do is bust a monopoly and there will be plenty of diamonds for all who want them.
  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Monday October 04, 1999 @06:12AM (#1640865) Homepage Journal
    It seems rather... bizzarre... that the world allows a single organization to control and fix the prices of something that's neither a scarce commodity like oil (though that's debateable too) nor a manufactured good.

    Wish I'd thought of it first though.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Harvesting diamonds - easy. Just crash something large and heavy into it, then scoot around picking up the pieces that are flung off into space.

    Given NASA's recent activities, I'd imagine they're quite skilled at crashing things into distant planets.

    So we're half way there, at least.

    Question is : what can we crash into it to make a big enough diamond splash?

    Hey - maybe there is a use for AOL disks after all!

  • Yeah, and also you'll need to make an alloy that is stronger than diamonds and can withstand the intense pressure that can CREATE diamonds from GAS. You're gonna have a helluva time.

    Besides what we are finding as probes go deeper into space is that the pressure becomes so intense that they just implode anyway, so when we can travel to the core of neptune or uranus and back again, it will mean leaps and bounds for space exploration.

    -[ World domination - ]-
  • by Shanoyu ( 975 ) on Monday October 04, 1999 @04:11AM (#1640868)
    Now if we can create a ship that can haul back a diamond the size of the earth, or even take a chunk out of it, it'll be a miracle. But thats beside the point.

    Sure, if we could get the diamonds out of there it would be great, but uh, they are in an area of _INTENSE_PRESSURE_, thats why they are diamonds, after all, and thats going to make it a real pain in the butt to get them out, since you can't just send in a gigantic retractable claw, (it would get squeezed into nothing) Although maybe you could hold coal close to where the pressure is extremely intense and watch the coal turn to diamonds.

    -[ World domination - ]-
  • Well getting them out of that gravity well might
    be a bit of a challenge. Somehow I don't think
    this will make any impact on the price of dimonds
    in the next 200 years. Remember those planets are very far away.
  • Yeah, he's still around and living in Sri Lanka..throw his name into Google and poke around, not all of the sites listed are contemporary, true, but there're no announcements of his death and some material dating to early in this year.

  • Didn't I just read in the news somewhere that diamonds really don't have any intrinsic value. The value we place in them is artificially created by keeping a tight grip on supply and demand? Well they sure are perty!

  • Hm... I would be very surprised if even moon rocks didn't cost a hell of a lot more per gram than industrially synthesized diamonds. Now imagine the cost of extracting diamonds from the core of one of the gas giants, at a distance of several light-hours from the sun. These little rocks would cost you considerably more per gram than Ross Perot/Bill Gates/Steve Forbes-liver pate.
  • or if you're unlucky, a pile of graphite flakes

    Luck doesn't have much to do with it. If you draw a graph of temperature against pressure, there is a very clearly defined P-T area where diamond is the stable form of carbon. At normal conditions on the earth surface, graphite is more stable than diamond, but the spontaneous conversion of diamond to graphite has such a slow theoretical rate, that you'll never see it happen.
  • So long as the pilot suffers horribly traumatizing events which cause her to hate space.

    And we need Hideaki Anno to supervise everyone in Mission Control. :)
  • Namely, "The Diamond as Big as The Ritz", his sole (and perhaps unwitting contribution to SF.) In it, a family lives in decadent seclusion in a wildly furnished mansion in Idaho, squarely settled on a gigantic diamond the size of a small hill. The plot is standard Fitzgerald: nice young man of the Gilded Age is horrified by the actions of his "betters", but the idea of the hill-sized diamond is worked out expertly, except the geological freak that produced it. Now, maybe it was an asteroid?
  • Okay, you think sand storms sting if you're caught in one ... I'd hate to be caught in a diamond storm - I'm thinking that it would be a rather abrasive experience.

    (It's late at night - sorry for the bad pun).

  • 2001, or 2010 I think. Can't remember which now, it's a while since I read the books.
  • And it also answered all the questions about the monoloth and dave bowman

    I think that was the idea. Some people hate endings that finish the story. Some don't. It's a matter of taste.
  • It was originally mentioned in 2010 as described above (Dave finds huge diamond the size of Earth at Jupiter's core). It is then mentioned again in 2061, when it is discovered that the big mysterious mountain on Europa is made of solid diamond. It is hypothesized by one of the characters that it came from the diamond core discovered in 2010, and was ejected into Jovian orbit when Jupiter turns into Lucifer.

  • Yes, Arthur C. Clarke did propose the idea of diamond-core gas giants, but I think he got it from some research similar to this. The idea was first mentioned in either 2001, or 2010, and became a plot point in 2063, when a mountain-sized chunk of diamond winds up embedded in the surface of Europa.

  • I may be wrong, but I thought the movie was first? Didn't Kubrick (it was his movie, right?) ask Clarke for a different sci fi movie idea and 2001 was the result?

    I haven't read the book 2001 or 2010, but I read the other two. I thought the end of 3001 was pretty lame. I'm also annoyed by all the retrospective view of history crap in most sci fi. I'm pretty annoyed at everything today, though.

    Surfing the net and other cliches...
  • This would be the worst thing imaginable to DeBeers. The only reason diamonds are valuable is because they are "scarce", and the only reason they are "scarce" is because of DeBeers.
  • This has been theorized since the early '90's when the Voyager 2 passed by Neptune. Arther C Clark used this concept in his book 2061.

    Not news.

    Creating diamonds with pressurized methane is not a new idea either? Industrial quality diamonds may be produced with a pressure tank full of methane and a plasma torch. This has been known now for some time now.
  • The diamonds we value here on Earth are often cut and heated to remove impurities.

    I believe this method of producing diamonds is sometimes used to create cheap industrial quality diamonds for drills. The diamonds produced usually are not large enough to be of much interest for jewlery though.
  • This is where Debeers is probably getting diamonds from already. They have something worked out with the alien cloaking ships to deliver them to earth safely. They sure have enough cash to finance this! Sean
  • Asimov, Sagan, and even Heinlein, are dead.
    Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury are still living. Elderly, admittedly, but quite alive.

  • I could be wrong (it's been a few years since my
    last physics class) but changing the mass of a planet wouldn't have anything to do with it's orbit -- otherwise we'd be in trouble anyway with all the meteors and such hitting us, and to a larger extent the moon (which has smaller mass and therefore would be theoretically more effected) -- not to mention mars and mercury

    Like I said, I could be wrong, but since no one else had taken you up on it yet...
  • Sorry, thanks for playing. Do we have some parting gifts for our contestant, Don Pardo?

    The force due to gravity is proportional to the products of the masses. So the force declines in proportion to the mass lost. But, because of F=ma, the accelleration due to gravity remains constant and thus so does the orbit.

    Not that we can ever remove an appreciable amount of matter from Uranus anyway.
  • I hope the guy is right on some of his other ideas, too. Hey Rob - Can we do an "Ask Arthur C. Clarke anything" thingie, please?

    (The man IS still alive, isn't he? He must be what, ancient by now?)
  • Hmm, I should go to Sri Lanka. Meeting this guy is one of those great dreams every geek ought to have :)
  • "You've got diamonds on Uranus". Is this some sort of space equivalent of 'the sun shines out of his arse?'
    But seriously, folks...
    This is definitely one of the 'cool but useless' stories of the year. Maybe if we get some nifty propulsion systems online we'll see see a Clarkian 'diamonds covering everything' scenario, but it's far more likely that this will happen because of nanotech and not diamond mining.
  • Did anyone else think 2061 was pretty abysmal? Has anyone read 3001? I'm guessing that is about the same.

    I thought it was good, but rather drawn out.

    3001, on the other hand, was very good. Quite entertaining. I really especially enjoyed the beginning when they find Frank Poole. :-)

  • The report only mentioned black diamond, so I wouldn't get your hopes up for the engagement ring from Neptune. The best question is, what is the most efficient use of diamond, if we can get it like this?

    Personally I like Clarke's idea. Build the space elevator. :-)

    Of course, we could never get all that diamond in Jupiter, short of actually lighting the planet up and then scouring around for it, much as was done in the book. There's simply no easy way to pull it out of that immense gravity well. Hell, it mostly is the gravity well itself, being at the core.

    In other words, let's detonate Jupiter. It could be fun. :-)

  • Harvesting diamonds from Uranus not only is enourmously expensive, but it would have also 2 devasting side-effects:
    • Uranus would become lighter an be attracted by the sun resulting in a tighter orbit, and finally eventually crash on the sun.
    • Our planet on the other hand would become more and more heavy and flying out of orbit into deep space
    Do we want that?
    I'm sure we won't

    (There's a fundamental error in my abopve assumptions - who finds it?)


  • Harvesting diamonds from Uranus not only is enourmously expensive, but it would have also 2 devasting side-effects:
    • Uranus would become lighter an be attracted by the sun resulting in a tighter orbit, and finally eventually crash on the sun.
    • Our planet on the other hand would become more and more heavy and flying out of orbit into deep space
    Do we want that?
    I'm sure we won't

    (There's a fundamental error in my above assumptions - who finds it?)


  • That's not how gravity and orbits work. I don't remember the details of Kepler's laws of orbital mechanics, but if you made Uranus lighter without changing it's speed it would fly away from the sun.

  • Wouldn't decreasing mass tend to increase the radius of an orbit, by decreasing the effects of gravity and allowing centrifugal force to spin it further outward?
  • Who cares about intense pressure? All you need is a giant scoop thousands of miles long made entirely of diamond. Then you can just reach in and...
    Never mind.
  • by humming ( 24596 )
    It's in 2010 that he suggests that the core of the gasgiants would be a diamond.
    At the same time he suggests that 'cloud'-beings lived in the atmosphere hunting other 'cloud'-beings, ofcourse, they were deemed not intelligent and then the whole planet was set on fire to create a small sun. This sun would later heat up Europa (the moon, not the continent) so that native life could develop there. :)

    An interesting side note is, that in 2001 A.C. Clarke suggested that Europa was filled with water but the lack of atmosphere made the water freeze instantly, which is now 'confirmed' in various studies.

  • Our planet on the other hand would become more and more heavy and flying out of orbit into deep space.
    Actually an increasing orbit would be a good side-effect, since it is one possible solution to the greenhouse effect. (earth further from the sun, receives less radiation, but retains more energy => keep our current climate) Besides it will make the years longer so we can get more things done !
  • Right now, DeBeer's is working out a way to get exclusive mining rights to Neptune And Uranus.
    Microsoft has nothing on DeBeer's in the monopoly department.

    ^. .^
    ( @ )
    ^. .^
  • You are correct, Arthur C. Clarke hypothoized that the center of Jupiter is a giant diamond in the book 2063. In the story, when Jupiter changed into a Sun, the diamond shot out of the middle of the core (!) and embedded itself in the new life planet of Europa. It's an excellent book, IMHO. If you think about it, it makes sense. What happens to that much carbon when compressed so much? And the hydrogen lake on top of the diamond field has to be impressive. `8r)

    What I find scary is how long ago did they have the article on how there could be life on Europa. True, it was thought to be true awhile ago, but they just found out about possible tides, meaning a liquid ocean. A liquid ocean could most definately mean life of some sort.

    'A sufficently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' -Clarke
    Gonzo Granzeau

  • There's one everlasting truth you need to realize:

    If there is some weird, cool theory out there, Clarke probably thought of it ages ago. That's his thing in life. :-) Regardless, this raining diamonds thing is interesting - and dangerous. Diamonds are pretty hard - if one's got a sharp edge, it could do some nasty damage. Heck, even smacking you a good one would do it. I'd much rather have it rain faster processors and PC100 RAM.
  • But if it did rain diamonds, the question would be, what would engagement rings be made of?

    Why, a lump of coal, of course! :)

  • Judging by the diagram with the story, the pressure sure is *INTENSE* by the time the diamonds stop falling, and shanoyu is right that trying to get machines to the surface would be near impossible.

    But that's not the only mining technique we're familiar with, is it? Surely if we produced a significant enough explosion on the surface diamond chunks could be blown into orbit? I reckon you wouldn't even a proper bomb, just drop a lump of enriched uranium, and it will explode under those pressures & temperatures.

    I can just imagine the stink the greenies would kick up :( "You're ruining the planets geo-system! We've only got *nine* planets."

  • Oooh! Oooh! I know, teacher! :)

    Because changing the mass of the object wouldn't change its orbit at all... We should all know by now that an object's rate of descent is independent of its mass, even in orbit.

    More simply: A feather and a boulder fall the same speed in a vacuum... even if they are falling *around* the sun.
  • Actually, I don't think he actually suggests the 'gasbag lifeform' idea... but yes, Jupiter becomes a star, and Europa melts....

    It's also in 2010 that he mentions the Europan ice crust.

    Just clarifying....
  • Oddly enough, I got 2061 from the library just last week (and 2010 the week before, Jupiter's diamond core is mentioned first in 2010, but not explained in any real detail). The article in Nature is "The ice layer in Uranus and Neptune--diamonds in the sky?" it's on pp. 435-36 of Vol. 292 No. 5822 from July 30, 1981, and was written by Marvin Ross of the University of California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboritory.
  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Monday October 04, 1999 @04:19AM (#1640910)
    This is interesting, but will not make spacetravel more cost effective. We can make Diamond's now.. we make industrial grade ones allthe time, but they place a market in them to keep from putting the diamond cartel (which uses slave labor to get the natural diamonds) out of buisness. I've personally always though that it was morally reprehensible for the indutrial diamond makers not to flood the market with cheep machine made diamoned and put the sleeze bags who run the diamond cartel out of buisness.

  • You're two years ahead of yourself. The book was actually "2061"
  • Diamonds are a terrible "investment" right now. If you buy a diamond and then immediately try to sell it, you'll do well to get a third of what you paid.
  • It is in 2061 that Clarke makes use of the idea that Jupiter could have a diamond core. I don't think that the idea was original to him, IIRC he mentions where he got it from in his 'author's notes' for the book.

    He used the possibility of Europa having liquid water under its ice cap in 2010. That info came from the Voyager flybys of Jupiter.
  • You guys all seen to be forgetting that these diamonds are made of METHANE... The ones we value are CARBON....
  • let me clarify.... the diamonds we value on earth are PURE carbon, no hydrogen atoms at all. They are perfect carbon crystals.
  • ok,ok, my bad....
  • It was neither 2001, or 2010. It was 2061. But I can understand how you would have forgotten, I myself have tried very hard to forget that travesty of a novel.
  • It has been decided that lunar surface shall be harvested to feed the starving here on earth.

    We shall then build a new moon using unprocessed whole weat flour, therebye packing it with vitamins and minerals and wholesome goodess.

    This seems like almost as likely a senerio does it not.

    I they have metalic snow on Venus also.

  • Actually, I think it was 2061(the date is around there... 2060?), in which Various People go to Europa, which now orbits around Lucifer, the star that Jupiter became when the thousands of monoliths increased its mass and density. One of the scientists on the trip is hoping to find a big hunk of the Jovian core on the surface of Europa. Actually, I remember Clarke giving credit to some other guy as having actually published the theory in question several years before, but I don't know who it was.
  • > as they wouldn't be rare anymore

    Diamonds aren't rare. The prices are just markedup up between 200% and 500%.

    Research the price of diamonds for the past 200 years, and look up the word cartel.

    2 months of salary for an over-priced rock?! NOT !

    Now precious metals like Gold or Silver, mmmm.

  • So when do the alchemists who invented this pocedure for creating diamonds out of cow farts plan to IPO? I want in. Why bother going to Jupiter when all you need is a red laser and a pressure cell?

  • by veldrane ( 70385 ) on Monday October 04, 1999 @04:54AM (#1640922)
    To badly paraphrase Ferris Bueller:
    "If you stuck a lump of coal in Uranus, in two weeks, you'd have a diamond."

    (Ok, so its redundant...)

    But really, the only reason diamonds are such a valuable commodity on Terra is simply for the reason that they are not common or easily brought into circulation. Now, if for some odd reason, it rained diamonds here, their value as a monetary staple would be nonexistant.
    Of course, we could easily develop technologies based on diamonds because of the drive that an inexpensive resource has on the market. I feel that's one of the reasons for the silicon(sand) market. Sure, you can make Real Cool Things(tm) out of rare earth metals but it won't become a technology that's widely accepted.
    But if it did rain diamonds, the question would be, what would engagement rings be made of?

  • Sometime in the distant future, all of your golds silvers and platinums will be mined on other planets. These should be pretty common elements all across the galaxy.

    I kinda compare it to "The New World". The first explorers from Europe were after what in the new world? Certainly not a new vacation spot.
    But, it is a good thing... new exploration has always been a result of pioneering greed.

  • by Stonehand ( 71085 ) on Monday October 04, 1999 @04:09AM (#1640924) Homepage
    If pressurized methane results in diamonds, then cows should be rich. {j/k}

    But more seriously, folks... this goes hand-in-hand with the possible commercialization of space (G2S Corporation, anyone?). If they could be extracted inexpensively (as if...), imagine what it'd do to the DeBeers cartel.

    Well, more seriously... ok. Maybe I'm just in a silly mood today. {shrug}
  • Arthur C. Clarke, in "2061: Oddyssey Three", refrenced an article from the journal "Nature". I don't have the book on me, or I'd give the article and page number. In brief, it said that the immense pressure inside Jupiter should crystalize carbon into diamond at the center of the planet.

    Clarke used it in the book to predict the use of diamond in great quantity for industrial and space-explortaion purposes. In the book, of course, it was the Monolith & Co. who turned Jupiter into a star, thus expelling much of the diamond out into space. I doubt that we will be able to get large quantites of diamond from planetary cores for a while. =)

    The report only mentioned black diamond, so I wouldn't get your hopes up for the engagement ring from Neptune. The best question is, what is the most efficient use of diamond, if we can get it like this?

  • Aren't artificial diamonds (used mainly as high precision drills IIRC) made out of methane?
    Are they not equally pure to natural diamonds?
  • Well such a phenomenon happened with the "discovery" of America (of course not with the gaseous planetary scale it would have in the hipothetical case) when the gold overflow from
    the colonies to Europe halved it's worth. Don't know exactly how much cheaper was the gold but i didn't hear anyway about the conquerors paying for it.
  • How much carbon is on these outer giants, anyway? I was under the impression there wasn't much, I mean it isn't high concentrations of methane, is it? With the speeds that these would be forming, they would probably be very "dirty" or unpure. Also, These high pressures are occuring when methane is still a gas? I dunno....
    -- Moondog

  • I just did a Google on the original stuff Clarke refers to (trying to be "informative" for once), and got a lot of results that contained the string

    Diamond: Uranus. Release stress...

    so I stopped searching.

  • That's the title of the Clarke book in which an earth-sized diamond is discovered in Jupiter (Or was it Europa? I forget...).

    The end of the book is rather interesting, where Clarke gives a description of a building completely coated in diamond.

    My memory is sketchy on it, but I recommend reading all 4 of the Odyssey books (2001, 2010, 2064, and 3001), the movie 2001 didn't do the book justice... and it was a damn good movie.

  • By the time it becomes economical to reach uranus, or any of the outer planets, we will have the technology to produce diamonds from dirt (or anything else that contains carbon.) Nanotech would provide the means to easily reach the outer planets, and also provide the means to make diamond cheaply. So its really just a "gee wiz" scientific curiousity and doesn't have any bearing on the value of diamond or that we have found a large supply of the gem that could actually be useful. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
  • In the experiment, they used a laser to heat the Methane to about 3600 degrees F. Does it get that hot in the atmosphere of either neptune or uranus?

    I realise that pressure creates heat (by friction) but is it *that* much?
  • Er... Could you say where it's mentioned? I realy don't remember it being mentioned in 2010. I thought an important plot point in 2061 was that nobody knew about it.
  • I think they'd be just as likely to send fighters, to stop other people's diamond harvesting ships.
  • 2010, as I recall. Dave Bowman was scoping out the life that existed in the Jovian atmosphere to see if it was viable for evolution into intelligence. It wasn't, so Jupiter gets turned into Lucifer so that Europan life might have a chance. In the process he finds that the carbon that filters down has been squeezed into an Earth-sized diamond.

    And then he refers to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I thought it was humorous when I read it.

    Did anyone else think 2061 was pretty abysmal? Has anyone read 3001? I'm guessing that is about the same.


  • Actually, I believe he died a few years ago. Sagan and Asimov are dead, too.


  • I've just skimmed the first 3 dozen or so posts, and I'm just wondering if it's been so long since 2010 that you've all forgotten it? Most of you are claiming that 2061 was the first mention of this! Clarke proposed the giant diamond in 2010, not in 2061. 2061 was such a weak story that I had to be reminded about the diamond mountain found on Europa...I remembered the 2010 reference immediately. 2061 simply continued the plotline.


  • If this is true and we ever make space travel a common thing, this could really decrease the value of diamonds, as they wouldn't be rare anymore. Who'da thought diamonds would ever be a bad investment?

  • It's the same old capitalism (or what's the word for it?) thing: Nothing can ever be worth any money as long as there is enough of it. Exactly that is what money was invented for. In most cases,
    everything *is* available in enough pieces. You just need to move it, need to *trade*, which is what will make you need something like money.

    Well, ever wondered why in StarTrek something
    "Latinum" exists? :-) "Because it's something
    that cannot be replicated" Sury, folks..

    Couldn't be just that they couldn't imagine that
    even in something so (mostly) friendly and perfect
    as the StarTrek universe a place could exist
    where there's no need for rare minerals, gold,
    latinum, whatever, used _as a replacement for

    I like this topic. Please rate me "Funny". :-)
  • Since most of the diamonds come out of Africa, and since Africa can be a scary place, (see flame throwers as car options) then they can do whatever they want there. If they were abundant everywhere on the planet, then of course no one would have a monopoly, but they aren't.
  • An interesting application for such a large quantity of diamonds would be their use as a construction material for several kinds of objects (like skeletons for particularly durable reserearch stations, ship hulls, or a space-to-planet cable that could serve as the basis for an inexpensive and highly efficent launching system). If buckyballs were present in any large quantities and could be isolatewd, then things might get really interesting.....
  • Actually, I stole the idea from the "mars" series by Kim Stanley Robinson. Sorry. Nothing else popped into my head at the time (lack of sleep). I think it is a really good idea, and merited inclusion despite its lack of originality, and that such materials would be the best choice for constructing space-to-planet-elevator cables and many other usefuls bits of space-stuff.
  • Instead of using a giant claw or what not, why not direct a giant asteroid to crash on neptune? Hopefully we might me able to get something flying out of there. Anyway, if there really was diamonds on neptune, we should have seen some of those on asteriod belts somewhere right?
  • If anyone did send diamond harvesting spaceships, it wouldn't be the US Government. It would be DeBeers.
  • I've never heard this name. I think proper names for Berkeley are:

    University of California, Berkeley
    University of California at Berkeley
    UC Berkeley

    (these ones are almost exclusively used for sports)

    (the) University of California (Golden Bears)

    Stanfurd students call us Kal. I think they envy the fact that we can actually recieve C's and D's in classes. :)

  • Oh, YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAH, like "a space-to-planet cable that could serve as the basis for an inexpensive and highly efficent launching system" is an original idea. :P Someone's read 3001, obviously. :D

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI