New Evidence For Saturn’s Age, Thanks To Hydrogen
The first experimental application of an old theory could give scientists a better idea of how old Saturn really is.By Evan Thomas | June 27, 2015
New tests on the lowly hydrogen molecule appear to confirm some old theories about the gas and could have big implications for one of our biggest planets. Brace for some science.
An 80-year-old theory first floated by physicists Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington suggests that when you put a lattice of hydrogen molecules under enough pressure, the gas starts behaving like a metal. It breaks into individual hydrogen atoms and releases electrons that can carry a current.
Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratory just obtained the first experimental evidence for the phenomenon. They used their high-energy x-ray generator to to magnetically compress hydrogen without heating it up, and it did just what Wigner and Huntington thought it would. (Video via Sandia National Laboratory)