Diamonds from ureilites formed inside the deceased proto-planet mesopodopsis

An artist's concept of a protoplanetary disc

An artist's concept of a protoplanetary disc

The black fragment of Almahata Sitta meteorite No.number 15 appears stark against the lighter-colored rocks of the Nubian Desert in northern Sudan.

Therefore, the Almahata Sitta meteorites finally confirm the existence of large proto-planetary bodies, which had only been speculated until now.

But while many stony meteorites hail from Mars, these were peculiar.

It argued that the pressures necessary to produce diamonds of this kind could only occur in planet of this size. This means the rock that fell to Earth almost a decade ago was part of a "lost" planet formed - and completely destroyed - at the dawn of the solar system.

Now, a new study published in the journal Nature Communications supports that idea. "We don't have much evidence from those specific planetary embryos".

Diamonds can form in a few ways, including in the high-temperature and high-pressure environments similar to those found deep inside earth.

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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The diamond pieces inside the meteorite hold a compelling record of these protoplanets and their collisions, according to the study.

The rare diamonds also give scientists a peek into the formation of planets. But we don't have information from them. If confirmed, they say, it would be the first time anyone has recovered fragments from one of our solar system's so-called "lost" planets.

The scientists cut up a sample of the rock and analyzed it with a battery of electron-microscope technologies. Roughly 4 kg of the meteorite were found during expeditions led by the University of Khartoum, and several (280) small (1 - 10 cm) and thinly-crusted stones have been recovered from the large strewn field. We discovered chromite, phosphate, and (Fe, Ni)-sulfide inclusions embedded in diamond. It's the first time such inclusions have been identified inside extraterrestrial diamonds.

Our stellar neighborhood has eight main planetary bodies, but according to an global 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. "It has a chemistry which has no equivalent in the solar system today, in terms of planets", he said.

"These high pressures indicate that the parent body of this ureilite was a planetary embryo with a size between Mercury and Mars", he added.

"This study provides convincing evidence that the ureilite parent body was one such large "lost" planet before it was destroyed by collisions". According to the scientists, they reported that this type of conditions can only be possible in large planet body not in all planets.

A mission recently selected by NASA called Psyche is expected to launch a spacecraft to the metallic core of an asteroid in 2022.

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