Telltale signatures in gravitational-wave signals from merging neutron stars should reveal what happens to matter at the extreme pressures generated during such mergers, calculations by RIKEN researchers predict [1].
If you took some water and compressed it with a piston, it would shrink as the molecules get pushed closer together.
If you continued ramping up the pressure, you’d reach a point where the atoms collapse and form an ultra-dense soup of neutrons and protons. The only place in the Universe where this happens is neutron stars, the collapsed remnants of burned-out stars, and it produces mind-boggling densities—one teaspoon of such material weighs several hundred billion kilograms.
But what would happen if you continued to increase the pressure still further? Not even astrophysicists know the answer to that.

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  1. Yong-Jia Huang, Luca Baiotti, Toru Kojo, Kentaro Takami, Hajime Sotani, Hajime Togashi, Tetsuo Hatsuda, Shigehiro Nagataki, and Yi-Zhong Fan, Merger and Postmerger of Binary Neutron Stars with a Quark-Hadron Crossover Equation of State, Phys. Rev. Lett. 129, 181101 (2022)