Diamonds from ureilites formed inside the deceased proto-planet mesopodopsis

Could micro-diamonds reveal the secrets of the early solar system

The meteorites have, in fact, been classed as ureilites - a rare type of stony meteorite that has a unique mineralogical composition, very different from that of other stony meteorites. However, a diamond with inclusions is far more valuable from a scientific standpoint than a so-called flawless jewel.

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". Finding diamonds in that meteorite. Diamonds about 0.1 millimeters across would actually be too big to be explained by two of the three possibilities, leaving only formation inside a planetary body.

The researchers, led by planetary scientists Farhang Nabiei, studied the diamond inclusions inside the meteorite and found relatively large, individual diamond crystals up to 100 μm that could not have formed under an impact event, because of such an event's short duration, which would not allow time for such large crystals to form.

Their first line of evidence that the space rock was a chunk of what was originally a large planetesimal came from the size of the diamonds themselves.

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

Diamonds are considered as one of the most precious metals on Earth. After being freed, the sudden pressure drop could cause portions of diamond to convert to graphite. Almahata Sitta is the first case in which meteorites have been recovered from a known asteroid that was tracked in space and during its subsequent collision with our planet.

Although small in size - the largest ones measuring less than four inches, shows The Meteoritical Society - the Almahata Sitta meteorites help unravel the mysteries of our solar system's early days. In the models, these embryos crash into each other, shattering or glomming together until only a few rocky planets remain. The chemical ingredients found inside the diamonds suggest that they were formed inside a planet or protoplanet that disappeared at the time of chaotic early phase of the Universe.

Scientists have used special electron microscopy and found out that the diamonds in the asteroid were formed due to a pressure that can only occur in a big object, such as a planet (of a size similar to Mercury or Mars). Some of the pieces would have whirled around in space for 4.5 billion years-until one smacked into the Nubian Desert in 2008 so we could pick it up and piece together that origin story.

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