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If humans discovered a diamond exoplanet and then traveled there, how would they set up civilization on a diamond exoplanet?

Everything needs a foundation, even on low-gravity planets (below 9.8m/s^2). The challenge that has been presented is drilling a foundation.

Us humans use industrial diamonds for all of the cutting of hard rock we do. But what happens when you come face to face with the hardest rock on earth? The planet is solid except for the core. The diamond exoplanet is about as big as the moon and has similar gravity.

You can't build anything that won't just fly off without a foundation.

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    $\begingroup$ zero gravity planet? Do you mind explaining? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Nov 8 '18 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ Glue a massive concrete slab to the diamond bedrock. Also, diamond is indeed hard, but it is also brittle. Not at all so hard to break it by hitting it with a steam hammer; evacuate the broken shards, continue. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Nov 8 '18 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ you don't need a foundation if the ground is already as hard as a diamond $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 8 '18 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ An object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an external force. Even in low - g / lunar-g there's enough mass and friction force to prevent buildings from floating way from just about anything short of explosions. $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 8 '18 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ "You can't build anything that won't just fly off without a foundation" is inconsistent with gravity similar to Moon. Also, diamond is easily crushed. Concrete is harder than metal drills and can be drilled all right, I suspect the same is true for diamonds. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Nov 8 '18 at 14:24
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If there is no atmosphere and the planetoid is solid diamond (so no seismic activity either) you do not need a foundation. There simply won't be any environmental forces that a building must resist, so gravity (even low gravity) and friction would be more than sufficient to hold buildings in place.

That said, diamond is hard but can be cut/smashed/burned. If you do need to anchor for whatever reason the diamond surface itself makes a fine foundation, and you wouldn't need very deep anchors at all since diamond is quite strong.

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A planet made of diamonds is either artificial or the product of , for various reasons, but mainly:

  • No planet formation process would ever lead to a rock planet without other elements such as iron, silicon, oxygen etc. In fact, carbon is just a minor part of the rocky bodies in our solar system. It is only the 15th most abundant element on Earth.
  • Diamond is not the most stable form of carbon. Your planet would probably degrade to other allotropes over the aeons.

If you still insist on having a diamond planet, though... A silly question deserves a silly answer. No drilling for foundations is required:

Loctitd

Last but not least:

(...) zero-gravity planets.

Not in questions where the tag is involved.

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    $\begingroup$ actually, I believe I saw an article recently where an exoplanet was discovered as being mostly diamond. Its not entirely impossible either since carbon is formed in the cores of stars. It wouldn't be unreasonable for large planetary chunks of diamonds to be released when they die. $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 8 '18 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ FlexTape! That will work. Instantly, bonds, seals, and repairs! $\endgroup$ – Aaron Nov 8 '18 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ Ooo! Ooo! Suction cups! $\endgroup$ – Willk Nov 10 '18 at 10:48
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part 1

You will need foundations, but not for the reasons you think.

Assuming your planet has no atmosphere or tectonics (because it's a diamond planet and there's nothing but carbon), then the regolith (or soil) would be very much similar to lunar regolith. Countless years of bombardment by impacts and cosmic particles break down the large crystalline diamond to dust. This is not solid rock any more, but a powdery mess (even more so because it's diamond and extremely destructive to anything that touches it). You will probably need to hold the diamond powder together with some cement so you can build foundations into to, without even reaching the massive diamond basement.

part 2

A "diamond planet" is a misnomer. This does not mean that the planet is made of 100% diamond. It means that it has quite a lot of diamond compared to, let's say, earth. Also, diamond requires pressure. I would expect the crust of the planet to be dominated by graphite, not diamond. Any diamond that remains will just become graphite: The impacts on the surface on the planet (see part 1 above) will probably rapidly degrade the diamond to graphite, which is extremely soft, and will probably need to be cemented somehow so you can build foundations through it.

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We may use diamond-tipped drills, but science fiction is loaded with alternatives, such as laser drills for asteroid miners. Just have your would be colonists go at it with laser, sonic, plasma, or force drills and you should be fine. Then they can cut up the diamond for building materials as well.

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I'll take your question at face value and not address whether a solid moon sized diamond is astrophysically reasonable.

If the surface of the diamond is reasonably smooth and solid, then many classes of adhesives would work. Cyanoacrylate as suggested before would work best for surfaces with surface roughness <.01mm but I'd suggest something more space filling in general. If the surface is rough, less adhesion is required and it's possible to simply grip the surface with normal forces.

You can cut diamond by lapping it in its own paste. This is certainly an option. You can also reduce it by oxidation. In either case, anchors are possible.

If the surface is powdery, then treat it like any other sediment. I'd suggest cementing it all together by wetting with a mineralized solution.

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