Asteroid containing large diamonds came from lost planet in our solar system

Katie Ramirez
April 19, 2018

Diamonds found on the meteorite were small and irregular, notes a report by Popular Science. They also determined that the diamonds were formed on a protoplanet during the formation of the solar system at least 4.55 billion years ago.

The black "rock" is an Almahata Sitta meteorite found in the Nubian Desert in northern Sudan.

The diamonds were discovered inside a small asteroid that slammed into the Nubian Desert in northeastern Sudan in 2008. Students from the University of Khartoum volunteered to search for fragments, ultimately recovering more than 600 pieces of the meteorite now known as Almahata Sitta. Numerous rare meteorites contained nano-sized diamonds.

They concluded the precious stones could only have been formed above pressures of some 20 gigapascals, which could only have existed on a Mars- to Mercury-sized planet.

"The particularly exciting thing is, [the researchers] have a really strong case with the pressures that they're measuring to say there really is no other way around the fact that this had to be a really big body present early in solar system history".

If the researchers' interpretation of these diamonds is correct, however, this is the first such evidence. Eventually those bodies collided and flung material out into space.

The diamonds we're familiar with are formed when sheets of carbon called graphite - the same material in pencil lead - is squeezed to incredible pressures. And Nabiei plans to examine them more closely to see if they too show signs of these long-vanished protoplanets. It's the first time such inclusions have been identified inside extraterrestrial diamonds. According to the new study, some extraterrestrial diamonds fell to Earth nearly 10 years ago that carry a lot of information about an ancient protoplanet of our solar system.

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These diamonds tell the tale of how our solar system was born, revealing there once was an additional planet that didn't make the cut. Other of these went on to form larger planets, or collided with the Sun or were ejected from the solar system altogether.

"This study provides convincing evidence that the ureilite parent body was one such large "lost" planet before it was destroyed by collisions".

An artist's rendering of the Psyche spacecraft approaching a giant metal asteroid.

Now, for the first time in 10 years, a new study by scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland finally sheds some light into the asteroid's planetary origin.

A mission recently selected by NASA, called Psyche, will launch a spacecraft to the metallic core of a Mars-size planet.

The Psyche probe, set to launch in 2022, will visit the dead planet and analyze its secrets.

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