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It rains diamonds on Jupiter and Saturn, scientists say


The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) is scheduled to launch in 2022 and arrive at the distant planet eight years later



The space race may well speed up after these new findings: Jupiter and Saturn could contain an abundance of diamonds on and under their surface.

Astrophycists from University of Wisconsin, Madison and California Specialty Engineering said that the planets may have just the right conditions to create the precious stones.

In particular, giant storms on Saturn and Jupiter create carbon particles that become diamonds as they rain down and face massive pressure that shapes them.

Incredibly, the stones may even liquify to form a "diamond ocean."

"At the boundaries — locations of sharp increases in density — on Jupiter and Saturn, there may be diamond rain or diamond oceans sitting as a layer," said study author Kevin Baines, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"Previously, only Uranus and Neptune were thought to have conditions in their interiors that would allow the formation of diamond at their cores."

Whereas on Jupiter diamonds would melt to form a liquid, researchers say, on Saturn they'd likely remain in chunks due to differing atmospheres and temperatures.

In sum, it's all about the right amount of pressure — i.e., a lot — and enough carbon to make diamonds.

The paper was presented at the American Astronomical Society's recent conference.