Space exploration is a grand adventure. Its mystery has always captivated us and the inevitable discoveries to come will add to the many cosmological insights we already have. But let this list serve as a warning for any weary inter-solar travelers. The universe can be a very frightening place. I hope no one should ever find themselves stuck in one of these worlds.
Our planet maintains a high ratio of oxygen to carbon. Carbon actually makes up only about 0.1 percent of earth’s bulk (hence the scarcity of carbon based materials like fossil fuels and diamonds). Near the center of our galaxy however, where carbon is more plentiful than oxygen, planet formation is very different.
It is here that you find what cosmologists call carbon planets. The morning sky on a carbon world would be anything but crystal clear and blue. Picture a yellow haze with black clouds of soot. As you descend farther down into the atmosphere you find seas made of compounds like crude oil and tar.
The surface of the planet bubbles with foul smelling methane pits and black ooze. The weather forecast doesn’t look good either: it’s raining gasoline and asphalt (…no smoking).
But there would be an upside to this “oil-well hell.” You may have guessed it. Where carbon is plentiful you also find high quantities of diamond.