Science

Diamonds from the sky suggest 'lost planet' in our solar system

Diamonds from the sky suggest 'lost planet' in our solar system”

And what's even cooler than finding space diamonds?

In 2008, an asteroid measuring 13 feet across penetrated Earth's atmosphere and exploded above Sudan, scattering rocky fragments across the Nubian Desert. Scientists believe ureilite diamonds can form three ways: under the extreme pressure triggered by a planetary collision, through chemical vapor deposition or under normal pressure conditions inside the parent body - as most diamonds on Earth are formed. It turned out to be a rare type of meteorite called ureilite, which has an unusual composition compared to other stony meteorites - it contains a lot of carbon in the form of nanodiamonds.

Found diamonds from ureilites Almahata Sitta originated inside the proto-planet the size of Mars or mercury.

Here on Earth, most diamonds are formed at around just 4.5 gigapascals.

They discovered chromite, phosphate and iron-nickel sulfide embedded in the diamond, with compositions and morphologies that could only have occurred under greater pressure than 20 gigapascals - almost 200,000 times that of sea level atmospheric pressure. Their presence suggests these diamonds arose within the crushing pressures found in the interior of a planet. This indicated to the scientists that they originally formed inside a planetary body ranging in size between Mercury and Mars, suggesting the ureilites were, in fact, the last remaining remnants of one of these lost planets.

Scientists have long theorized that the early solar system once contained many more planets - some of which were likely little more than a mass of molten magma.

"Mars-sized bodies were common, and either accreted to form larger planets, or collided with the Sun or were ejected from the solar system".

According to a new study published Nature Communications, that's exactly what we have on our hands-one of the study's co-authors, Philippe Gillet, claims that the large diamonds his team found in the Almahata Sitta meteorite "cannot be the result of a shock but rather of growth that has taken place within a planet".

Lead researcher Farhang Nabiei hopes the study is only the beginning. Discovering that those diamonds may be from an ancient lost protoplanet that was destroyed in the early days of our solar system.



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