Creation of lab planets
The conditions of pressure and temperature were reproduced with compression laser that we would find if we were in the core of a planet in the creation stage.
Planets in a tube were recreated in the laboratory. You will think that is not possible, however a group of researchers has documented the experiment in a study published in the Science journal. Marius Millot, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and some colleagues at Bayreuth University (Germany), LLNL and the Berkeley University of California have used compression laser to reproduce in the laboratory conditions that replicate the training – obviously synthetic – of super-Earths (rocky planets) and gaseous Giants (Jupiters). Experts have documented material properties which should be within the nuclei of the planets in formation and evolution.
Credit: E. Kowaluk, LLNL
Experiments show the unusual properties of silica, a fundamental component of the rocks (and therefore of the rocky planets like Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury), in contact with a pressure and temperature extremes – just like those that would be if we were inside the core of a planet newborn. Using compression and laser diagnostics super-fast Millot and the team were able to measure the melting temperature of the silica to 500 GPa (giga pascal) or 5 million atmospheres, a pressure comparable to that found at the boundary between the core and mantle of a super-Earth (5 Earth masses), Uranus and Neptune. The researcher explained: “In the depths of the planets would find a pressure and temperature which drastically change the properties of the constituent materials. The key is to understand how much heat can support the solids before melting under the force of the pressure. Just so you can get to determine the internal structure of a planet and its evolution. Now we are able to measure this directly in the laboratory. ”
These advances were made possible thanks to new techniques for the growth of crystals at high pressure developed at the Bayreuth University in Germany. Natalia Dubrovinskaia and his colleagues were able to synthesize polycrystalline transparent and millimeter-sized single crystals of stishovite, a form of high density of silica (SiO2) that are usually found only in small quantities near the crater formed by the impact of meteorites. It is with these crystals that Millot has conducted the first study of compression on the laser stishovite using the techniques of ultrafast optical pyrometry and velocimetry at the Omega Laser Facility Laboratory for Laser Energetics the University of Rochester.
The new data, combined with surveys cast iron and other minerals, indicate that the silicates in the mantle and the core metal pressures have melting that transcend 300-500 GPa, suggesting that large rocky planets may have oceans of magma – which is molten rock – in their depths. The research also revealed that the silica is probably solid within the nuclei of Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter, which could change the patterns on the evolution of these planets.
Millot then emphasized that “the stishovite, being much denser quartz or fused silica, remains colder when it receives the shock laser, which allowed us to measure the melting temperature at a pressure much higher.” He added: “The dynamic compression of planetary materials is a very interesting field at this time.”
In short, the researchers never cease to investigate the birth and formation of our solar system and other planetary systems. Every day telescopes orbiting or those on land bring home new discoveries, by some remote chance that planets might be habitable and have characteristics similar to those of Earth. Reproducing in the laboratory the extreme conditions of the cores of the giant planets, Millot and colleagues seek to contribute to a better understanding of the formation of the Earth, explaining the origin of life.