Publicado: Jue, Abril 19, 2018
Ciencia | Por Aurelio Ontiveros

Diamond from the sky may have come from 'lost planet'

Diamond from the sky may have come from 'lost planet'

Our solar system began to form approximately 4.6-billion years ago - which means this hunk of rocks and such is pretty gosh-darned old.

Meteorite hunters recovered about 50 fragments, which researchers later named the "Almahata Sitta" collection after a nearby train station in Sudan.

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. Their findings also support the theory that this solar system and its planets were created from the remains of huge "proto-planets".

If the researchers' interpretation of these diamonds is correct, however, this is the first such evidence.

That planetary embryo would have then been destroyed through violent collisions, the researchers noted.

Two planets violently collide in space.

"We've often wondered, what is the parent body that formed this thing?" said Peter Brown, a professor at Western University's department of physics, when he found out about the study.

Inside Earth, they're made when carbon-rich magma more than 100 miles below the crust pipes upward and cools in a lava tube.

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To check on that explanation, a group led by Farhang Nabiei of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne threw the diamonds under a transmission electron microscope. "In terrestrial diamonds, this has allowed to estimate the depth of diamond formation, and to identify the composition and petrology of phases sampled at that depth".

The impurities trapped within the Almahata Sitta diamonds - crystals of chromite, phosphate and iron-nickel-sulfide - are the first to have been discovered in an extraterrestrial diamond.

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. Scientists can't trace them to a source because the planet in question no longer exists.

Small diamonds found within a meteorite that crashed into Earth in 2008 may hold some surprising answers about the early days of our solar system.

The researchers note that our simulations of the formation of the Solar System produce tens of "planetary embryos" that can be as big as Mars. Mars-sized bodies (such as the giant impactor that formed the Moon) were common, and either accreted to form larger planets, or collided with the Sun or were ejected from the solar system.

He said the study provided convincing evidence that the ureilite parent body was one of the "lost" planets before it was destroyed. This was in one of the scientific publications by scientists from Germany, Switzerland and France.

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

"We didn't expect to see these inclusions at all", he said.

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