For the first time, strange alien ice has been seen forming on Earth by US researchers. This revelation was made by the researchers at Stanford University on Tuesday, July 8, 2017.
The researchers have described the ice seven, also known as ice VII, which originates when planetary bodies collide.
"These experiments with water are the first of their kind, allowing us to witness a fundamental disorder-to-order transition in one of the most abundant molecules in the universe," said study lead author Arianna Gleason, a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a visiting scientist in the Extreme Environments Laboratory of Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, xinhuanet.com reported.
Here are the interesting facts to know about the alien ice:
1. The ice VII forms naturally in the environment when planetary ice bodies collide. This ice was created and imaged in the laboratory in just billionths of a second.
2. While ice formation takes place on Earth's surface, the water crystallises in just one way be it in the ice cube trays in the freezer or glaciers. The ice is termed hexagonal ice "Ih".
3. Most powerful X-ray lasers were used by the researchers to create ice VII with the help of Linac Coherent Light Source. A green coloured laser was beamed at a small target of water in liquid form. The layer of diamond was vaporised on one side of the target and a rocket-like force was generated by it that compressed the way to a great extent which exceeded 50,000 times than that of Earth's atmosphere at sea level.
4. Another instrument called X-ray Free Electron Laser is used to beam the compressed water. Te beam arrived in a series of bright pulses which lasted for a femtosecond, or a quadrillionth of a second, similar to camera flashes. This laser captured images portraying the progression of molecular changes as the pressurised water crystallised into ice seven.
5. This transformation took place in just six billionths of a second, or nanoseconds during the procedure and as per the theory, the water molecules bonded into rod shapes and not circular.
6. Environments like comet impacts can be controlled by the researchers by digging more about alien ice types. It would help them understand structures like rocky and oceanic exoplanet, life-supporting moon like Jupiter's moon Europa.
7. "Any icy satellite or planetary interior is intimately connected to the object's surface," Gleason said. "Learning about these icy interiors will help us understand how the worlds in our solar system formed and how at least one of them, so far as we know, came to have all the necessary characteristics for life," he concluded, as quoted by xinhuanet.com.