A super Earth, made of diamonds.
Astronomers also thought 55 Cancri e contained a substantial amount of super-heated water, based on the assumption that its chemical makeup was similar to Earth’s, Madhusudhan said. But the new research suggests the planet has no water at all, and appears to be composed primarily of carbon (as graphite and diamond), iron, silicon carbide, and, possibly, some silicates. The study estimates that at least a third of the planet’s mass — the equivalent of about three Earth masses — could be diamond. “By contrast, Earth’s interior is rich in oxygen, but extremely poor in carbon — less than a part in thousand by mass,” says co-author and Yale geophysicist Kanani Lee.