Diamond the size of Earth


Astronomers have found a diamond the size of Earth. The cooled white dwarf star, a huge chunk of crystallized carbon, is orbiting a pulsar about 900 light-years away, according to National Geographic.

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  1. Can someone do an XKCD-style calculation, and tell me which would be worth more, the diamond or the cost of the expedition to the diamond?

    Don't worry about precision -- a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation will be enough to determine whether or not I should burn my life-savings and take over a large country to embark on this gigantic intergenerational project -- I mean, <ahem>, will be mildly interesting over my lunch break.

  2. Diamonds are forever. Electron degenerate matter is very difficult to contain.

  3. xzzy says:

    Can we call the pulsar Lucy?

  4. No, please! Do tell De Beers!

    It's 900 light years away. Stick them all on a rocket and launch them at it. Even at our best attainable speeds, it'd take something like 50,000 years round trip - during which time we won't have to deal with them here on earth!

  5. That and the cultural value they possess.

    People are told by society that diamonds are valuable, so they're willing to pay unrealistic prices for a commodity that isn't rare, which in turn keeps the value artficially high, in turn reinforcing the societal belief that diamonds are valuable.

    It's a vicious cycle, one helped along by De Beer's marketing department, who work very hard to convince people that 1) diamonds really are rare and exclusive and that 2) the only "proper" way to express love is to pay large percentages of one's yearly wages on an artificially overvalued shiny bit of carbon.

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