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Alien diamonds hit Earth in meteorite

19 April 2018

But the most exciting thing about this space rock is it contains tiny fragments of diamonds - yes, diamonds!

Our stellar neighborhood has eight main planetary bodies, but according to an worldwide team of scientists, there could have been another planet in our backyard, one that might have been destroyed at infancy during the chaotic formation of the solar system or in the ensuing years.

These rocks are scattered all over the Nubian desert of northern Sudan when the asteroid 2008 TC3 came in contact with the earth atmosphere.

Was found after the explosion, the meteor was mainly composed of coarse-grained rocks (olivine and pyroxene), which could be formed in the mantle of "planet-Bud", and the concentration of carbon in them was unusually high. This particular set of diamonds were formed at 20 gigapascals - the entire weight of its home planet pushing down on it.

Almahata Sitta was a rare case - the first time meteorite material had been retrieved from an asteroid that had been tracked from space and during its collision with Earth.

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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 space rock, called Almahata Sitta, is extraordinary in several ways.

To come to this conclusion, the research team led by Farhang Nabiei of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, used a high-powered electron microscope to study the tiny diamonds inside a thin section of the meteorite.

Next, the researchers turned their attention to what are known as chemical inclusions inside the diamonds.

The size of the diamonds is another clue that we're dealing with some very peculiar objects.

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Diamonds are considered as one of the most precious metals on Earth. But further evidence of sustained high pressure would be expected to be found in the minerals surrounding the diamonds, he said. This suggests that the diamonds formed deep in a body's interior and not on impact.

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.

He said the study provided convincing evidence that the ureilite parent body was one of the "lost" planets before it was destroyed. Some of these bodies were almost as big as Mars and one of them, dubbed Theia, collided with Earth to throw our moon into orbit.

To create these conditions, Nabiei said, the meteorite's parent body would have to have been a planet at least as big as Mercury and possibly as large as Mars.

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Alien diamonds hit Earth in meteorite