Laser-driven shock compression of stishovite was used to study the melting temperature of silica deep inside the mantle of rocky exoplanets and the core of giant planets.
Credit: LLNL/NIF/NASA/E. Kowaluk (LLE)
By Charles Q. Choi, Space.com Contributor
Using laser blasts, scientists have recreated the extreme temperatures and pressures found inside large rocky planets known as super-Earths as well as in icy giant planets such as Neptune and Uranus, shedding light on what the interiors of these exotic worlds are like.
The new findings suggest that the interiors of super-Earth exoplanets may consist of oceans of molten rock that generate magnetic fields, and that giant planets may contain solid, rocky cores, researchers say.
In the past 20 years or so, astronomers have confirmed the existence of more than 1,800 planets orbiting distant stars. These discoveries have revealed very different kinds of planets from those seen in the solar system, such as super-Earths, which are rocky planets that are up to 10 times the mass of Earth.
A great deal remains unknown about these newfound types of alien worlds, including details about how they form and evolve, and what kinds of conditions they might impose on life over time.
More - Link >>> http://www.space.com/28340-exoplanet-cores-laser-blasts.html
Source: Space.com .
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