Scientists have discovered that tiny diamonds found inside a meteorite show signs of originating in a lost planet - one that dates back to the earliest days of the Solar System.
"Planetary formation simulations suggest that they were tens of planetary embryos in the size range between that of moon and that of Mars in the early solar system". The Almahitta Sitta is named after the location in Sudan above which the space rock exploded in 2008.
Researchers suspect that diamond crystals in the meteorite may have formed under very high temperatures and pressure in the innermost chambers of its parent planet, the same way diamonds do on Earth.
The diamonds come from a mysterious land which one circled the sun 4.5billion years ago, according to experts.
In the beginning, our solar system was in complete chaos, with bodies colliding and forming planets, and astronomers think that there were once other 10 planets in our solar system.
Diamonds can act as time capsules: They trap nearby minerals during the formation process and, with their strength and stability, preserve material that scientists call inclusions.
Studying the chemical contents inside the diamonds, the scientists concluded that they were captured by the diamonds during an extremely high-pressure phase that could be found only in a planetary body between the size of Mercury and Mars.
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.
Lead researcher Dr Farhang Nabiei from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne said, "Here we studied a section of the Almahata Sitta ureilite using transmission electron microscopy, where large diamonds were formed at high pressure inside the parent body".
The bands of diamond shot through the Almahata Sitta meteorite are said to be the first compelling evidence that this is really what happened.
The study showed the diamonds must have formed at pressures above 20 gigapascals.
According to the authors, these findings provide evidence of the existence of large protoplanets in our early solar system which constituted the building blocks of the rocky planets that we see in the solar system today, a fact revealed by the study conducted on a fragment of the 2008 Nubian desert asteroid.
Such planetary embryos got ejected from the solar system and either became rogue planets or smashed together.
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