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Rocky exoplanets turn out to feature exotic rocks


Well, okay, by astronomer standards. The astronomers were studying “polluted white dwarfs” — collapsed stars with a bunch of debris from their planets, etc., which crashed into them:

They found that these white dwarfs have a much wider range of compositions than any of the inner planets in our Solar System, suggesting their planets had a wider variety of rock types. In fact, some of the compositions are so unusual that Putirka and Xu had to create new names (such as “quartz pyroxenites” and “periclase dunites”) to classify the novel rock types that must have existed on those planets.

“While some exoplanets that once orbited polluted white dwarfs appear similar to Earth, most have rock types that are exotic to our Solar System,” said Xu. “They have no direct counterparts in the Solar System.”

Putirka describes what these new rock types might mean for the rocky worlds they belong to. “Some of the rock types that we see from the white dwarf data would dissolve more water than rocks on Earth and might impact how oceans are developed,” he explained. “Some rock types might melt at much lower temperatures and produce thicker crust than Earth rocks, and some rock types might be weaker, which might facilitate the development of plate tectonics.”

Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), “Rocky exoplanets are even stranger than we thought” at ScienceDaily (November 2, 2021)

The paper is open access.

Did we ever tell you the one about the gold asteroid? It’s true. Or as true as any of the rest of it:

Could huge chunks of asteroid gold wreck our economy? 16 Psyche’s gold illustrates how AI affects jobs. Not the way many think… “By lowering the price of gold, it would create new, currently nonexistent, markets for other uses of gold,” says Jay Richards. In the same way, AI creates new, currently nonexistent, markets for human time and creativity.

New sources wouldn't lower the price of gold. The law of supply and demand doesn't apply to fashionable stuff. Prediction: A speculative "artists conception" of these Exotic Rocks will be the next million-dollar NFT. Own a piece of an exotic exoplanet! Reminds me of the deed for "one square inch of the moon" that used to be available for a cereal boxtop. The only difference is the price. Edit: Should have googled first. I didn't need to predict.... They're already doing it. https://www.the4001project.com/ polistra

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