Carbon planets? Real or imagined?

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willpittenger

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<p>I just finished reading a book which featured planets that had a mantle and crust made mainly of carbon.&nbsp; These planets, as they compressed, turned the lower layers into a diamond which was doped with various chemicals turning the diamond into a semiconductor.&nbsp; Eventually, as more and more layers were built up, the crust/mantle area becomes a giant CPU.&nbsp; But wait.&nbsp; Each planet was just one of a thousand cores in the computer, each being a independant planet, many in different systems in the same cluster.</p><p>Now, I know this is a science fiction book.&nbsp; We don't have warp drive.&nbsp; Phasers are completely imaginary.&nbsp; Etc.&nbsp; Let's keep such discussion out of this thread and down to what might have been real: The carbon planets and the interconnected computer system.</p><p>Obviously, we don't know how the CPUs would communicate over even trival intersolar distances.&nbsp; Beyond that, where does the real physics end and the imaginary begin?</p><p>Cluster name (might or might not be the name of a real cluster): NGC 6281 (nothing came up in Wikipedia)</p><p><em>Star Trek: The Next Generation: Greater Than the Sum</em><br />Author: Christopher L. Bennet<br />ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-7132-2<br />ISBN-10: 1-4165-7132-9<br />UPC: 9 781516 571322 50799<br />Price: $7.99/$8.50 (Canada)/&pound;6.99</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I just finished reading a book which featured planets that had a mantle and crust made mainly of carbon.&nbsp; These planets, as they compressed, turned the lower layers into a diamond which was doped with various chemicals turning the diamond into a semiconductor.&nbsp; Eventually, as more and more layers were built up, the crust/mantle area becomes a giant CPU.&nbsp; But wait.&nbsp; Each planet was just one of a thousand cores in the computer, each being a independant planet, many in different systems in the same cluster.Now, I know this is a science fiction book.&nbsp; We don't have warp drive.&nbsp; Phasers are completely imaginary.&nbsp; Etc.&nbsp; Let's keep such discussion out of this thread and down to what might have been real: The carbon planets and the interconnected computer system.Obviously, we don't know how the CPUs would communicate over even trival intersolar distances.&nbsp; Beyond that, where does the real physics end and the imaginary begin?Cluster name (might or might not be the name of a real cluster): NGC 6281 (nothing came up in Wikipedia)Star Trek: The Next Generation: Greater Than the SumAuthor: Christopher L. BennetISBN-13: 978-1-4165-7132-2ISBN-10: 1-4165-7132-9UPC: 9 781516 571322 50799Price: $7.99/$8.50 (Canada)/&pound;6.99 <br />Posted by willpittenger</DIV></p><p>It becomes fantasy almost immediately.&nbsp; There is a reason that integrated circuits are fabricated on doped semiconductor crystals.&nbsp; Carbon is not a semiconductor, it is quite a good conductor in most forms and diamond is a good insulator.&nbsp;Also the purity of the crystals involved is quite important as is the precise nature and high gradients involved in the doping -- often via ion implantation to maintain sharp junctions.&nbsp; Older semiconductor devices were made using heat and diffusion, and the problem involved in controlling temperature profiles and sharp junctions were formidable.&nbsp; The situation that you describe would probably rapidly lead to degradation of all semiconductor junctions via diffusion under heat and pressure.&nbsp; In addition a CPU is a considerably more complex device that a diode or transistor and interconnecting billions of transistors on a chip would be improbable via chance in a giant crystal (like a planet).&nbsp; So you have a problem with both the formation of individual juntions and with intereconnection of those junctions/devices in a logic circuit.&nbsp; Then you have the issue of how those planet/CPUs could be interconnected and communicate.&nbsp; That would require some sort of transmitting circuitry as well as encoding and decoding algorithms -- all to arrise via chance.&nbsp; This strains credibilty a wee bit too far.</p><p>This could be an entertaining story.&nbsp; But it is all imagination with no physical basis at all.&nbsp; But at $7.99 it might be cheap entertainment if the plot is otherwise interesting and if you can suspend disbelief in the science.&nbsp; Most good science fiction requires violating at least on law of physics.&nbsp; It's not science, it's fiction.&nbsp; But fiction can be fun.&nbsp; Just don't confuse the two.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I just finished reading a book which featured planets that had a mantle and crust made mainly of carbon.&nbsp; These planets, as they compressed, turned the lower layers into a diamond which was doped with various chemicals turning the diamond into a semiconductor.&nbsp; Eventually, as more and more layers were built up, the crust/mantle area becomes a giant CPU.&nbsp; But wait.&nbsp; Each planet was just one of a thousand cores in the computer, each being a independant planet, many in different systems in the same cluster.Now, I know this is a science fiction book.&nbsp; We don't have warp drive.&nbsp; Phasers are completely imaginary.&nbsp; Etc.&nbsp; Let's keep such discussion out of this thread and down to what might have been real: The carbon planets and the interconnected computer system.Obviously, we don't know how the CPUs would communicate over even trival intersolar distances.&nbsp; Beyond that, where does the real physics end and the imaginary begin?Cluster name (might or might not be the name of a real cluster): NGC 6281 (nothing came up in Wikipedia)Star Trek: The Next Generation: Greater Than the SumAuthor: Christopher L. BennetISBN-13: 978-1-4165-7132-2ISBN-10: 1-4165-7132-9UPC: 9 781516 571322 50799Price: $7.99/$8.50 (Canada)/&pound;6.99 <br />Posted by willpittenger</DIV><br /><br />How plausible would it be to find worlds which are mostly carbon? Like oxygen, carbon is very common but usually exists naturally bonded to something else doesnt it? We can find&nbsp;massive rocks&nbsp;of iron because we expect planets to differentiate into layers, one pretty pure iron. If that world gets smashed then some of the lumps will come from the core of iron. Is there any such thing as a carbon layer? Perhaps under some super pressure where normal chemistry does not apply?</p><p>back to this carbon world: I would have to see an argument for some sort of process of evolution (mutation plus natural selection) before I could imagine it producing anything complex. A life form of some sort could of course come along and convert carbon into something more intelligent, but why?</p><p>Here is a similar idea that just came to me: Suppose you have a super heavy rocky world with a large spinning iron core. Life could derive energy from this core by growing very long thin conductive&nbsp;filaments through the rock, very very deep since it does not need sunlight etc. This requires cooperation between far flung colonies and the obvious way to interchange information is through the same conductive network. Ie the filaments are neurons. Some colonies would just be energy drains on society. The other colonies need the social intelligence to decide not to connect to them. Since you cannot easily move through the rock, genetic information must also be sent electronically, and accepted or rejected on highly socially aware criteria.</p><p>Instead of getting energy from the spinning core, what if it gets energy from the piezo electric effect when the world is squeezed on the nearest approach to some heavy jupiter like world? then energy is only available for some periods. Colonies that are successful batteries can transmit their genetic code along with power to other colonies. The fact the have power to give a way is proof of good genes. (power is like bling ;) )&nbsp;&nbsp;If information is transmitted electronically then perhaps it is also stored that way. During the long period of low energy the life could store itself for the most part in solid state memory.</p><p>Such a world might have large seams of carbon heavy crystal like materials&nbsp;that are sentient and social.</p><p>(addition: I suppose you could also speculate about them developing what amounts to radio telescopes to explore the outer universe)</p><p>(addition 2: If you were making a tale out of this, such harmless worlds could also contain a nasty shock. These are natural nanomachines with the ability to store memories over indefinite periods. No species they produce ever becomes extinct, it just goes into memory. Some species may be for defense against creatures they repulsed from the surface&nbsp;billions of years ago and at any point the power stored within the entire volume of the planet can be fed into the furnaces to bring these species back.</p>
 
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JonClarke

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<p><font size="2">Carbon planets have been hypothesised </font></p><p><font size="2">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_planet</font></p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText"><font face="Verdana" size="2">http://www.novacelestia.com/space_art_extrasolar_planets/carbon_planets.html</font></p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText"><font size="2">http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/diamond_planets_050208.html</font></p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText"><font size="2">Enjoy!</font></p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText"><font size="2">Jon</font></p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin:0cm0cm0pt" class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p><font size="2"><font face="Courier New"></font></font><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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majornature

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I just finished reading a book which featured planets that had a mantle and crust made mainly of carbon.&nbsp; These planets, as they compressed, turned the lower layers into a diamond which was doped with various chemicals turning the diamond into a semiconductor.&nbsp; Eventually, as more and more layers were built up, the crust/mantle area becomes a giant CPU.&nbsp; But wait.&nbsp; Each planet was just one of a thousand cores in the computer, each being a independant planet, many in different systems in the same cluster.Now, I know this is a science fiction book.&nbsp; We don't have warp drive.&nbsp; Phasers are completely imaginary.&nbsp; Etc.&nbsp; Let's keep such discussion out of this thread and down to what might have been real: The carbon planets and the interconnected computer system.Obviously, we don't know how the CPUs would communicate over even trival intersolar distances.&nbsp; Beyond that, where does the real physics end and the imaginary begin?Cluster name (might or might not be the name of a real cluster): NGC 6281 (nothing came up in Wikipedia)Star Trek: The Next Generation: Greater Than the SumAuthor: Christopher L. BennetISBN-13: 978-1-4165-7132-2ISBN-10: 1-4165-7132-9UPC: 9 781516 571322 50799Price: $7.99/$8.50 (Canada)/&pound;6.99 <br />Posted by willpittenger</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;Isn't The Planet Earth a "carbon" based planet.&nbsp; I thought it was.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="2" color="#14ea50"><strong><font size="1">We are born.  We live.  We experiment.  We rot.  We die.  and the whole process starts all over again!  Imagine That!</font><br /><br /><br /><img id="6e5c6b4c-0657-47dd-9476-1fbb47938264" style="width:176px;height:247px" src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/14/4/6e5c6b4c-0657-47dd-9476-1fbb47938264.Large.jpg" alt="blog post photo" width="276" height="440" /><br /></strong></font> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>&nbsp;Isn't The Planet Earth a "carbon" based planet.&nbsp; I thought it was. <br />Posted by majornature</DIV><br /><br />They are talking about planets composed almost entirely of Carbon. We have many other elements here on earth. I won't list them so you don't try and steal all of them :) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>&nbsp;Isn't The Planet Earth a "carbon" based planet.&nbsp; I thought it was.</p><p>Posted by majornature</DIV><br />Actually, it's our lifeforms (read you) that are carbon based.&nbsp; The majority of rocks are silicates or metal-based.&nbsp; One planet in the book was dubbed by a character "Pencilvania" because of all the graphite around.&nbsp; Nothing but graphite. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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