Meteorite's diamonds tell of Earth's baby sister, which died young


They suspected that these crystals may have formed the same way diamonds do on Earth - under the unbelievably high temperatures and pressures that exist in the interior of a planet - and only afterward were broken by a shock wave into smaller fragments.

The planet was slightly bigger than Mercury and was destroyed in a comic collision as these valuable diamonds give scientists a glimpse into the formation of planets.

As with Earth's diamonds, these tiny meteorite diamonds contain even tinier blobs of other minerals, which are generally what tell a diamond's most interesting stories.

On October 7, 2008, an 80-ton asteroid (2008 TC3) entered the Earth's atmosphere and exploded into hundreds of smaller meteorites about 23 miles above the Nubian Desert in Sudan.

The researchers suggest all ureilite asteroids were remnants of the same proto-planet.

This is the Almahata Sitta ureilite achondritic meteorite, and it's full of diamonds.

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Farhang Nabiei, a materials scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the lead author of the report, expressed his surprise at the findings given the lack of evidence collected so far to confirm the existence of these early planets.

Our solar system wasn't always made of nine eight planets-early in its development, there may have been several more nascent worlds developing around the sun.

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. The diamonds that were found inside the asteroid were extremely tiny and the biggest of them was about the width of a human hair. "One as large as Mars seems a little surprising, but this paper presents the best, and perhaps only, type of evidence for determining the sizes of these parent bodies".

Some of the materials in the diamonds have been trapped since formation, known as inclusions, can only form above pressures of 20 gigapascals (GPa), which the researchers say "can only be attained in a large planetary body". New research has shown that orality contain large diamond grains, which could occur when high pressure inside the protoplanet. It's the first time such inclusions have been identified inside extraterrestrial diamonds.

One of these embryo planets - known as Theia - is believed to have struck Earth, ejecting a large amount of debris that later formed the Moon.

In other words, there were crushing forces to strong it must have happened on a Mercury of Mars-sized planet.