Diamonds from the core of an ancient dead planet found on Earth

In October 2008, a space object with a diameter of 4 m entered the Earth's atmosphere, which exploded at an altitude of 37 km above the Nubia Desert in Sudan. This asteroid received the 2008 TC3 index, and scientists managed to find about fifty of its fragments 1-10 cm in size, which were combined into the Almahata Sitta collection. Most of them were Ureilites and contained tiny unearthly diamonds.

Studies carried out since then using an electron microscope have shown the presence of iron-nickel, chromite and phosphate sulfides in diamonds. This makes them similar to earthly diamonds, but scientists believed that for the formation of such a substance, a monstrous pressure is needed - at least 20 gigapascals. And this, in turn, means that these diamonds were born in the depths of a rather large planet, no less than Mercury in size, even closer to Mars.

Colorized shot of a meteorite specimen

But if diamonds formed in the bowels of another large planet, how did they end up inside an asteroid? This led scientists to create the hypothesis of a "planetary embryo" - the proto-nucleus of the future planet, the first piece of "rock" that was formed from compressed cosmic dust in the era of the formation of the solar system. Then it resembled a "soup" in which everything flew, collided and mixed with each other, forming new cosmic bodies.

Probably, a certain planet was formed earlier than the nine known to us, in its depths the processes of diamond formation had time to start, but it did not take its place, did not receive a stable orbit. And it was destroyed in a collision with other objects of the young star system, falling apart into fragments, by analogy with the appearance of satellites in the gas giants. These tiny diamonds from the asteroid are the last but most compelling traces of her existence.