Swiss Research: Meteorite Diamonds From Space May Be From “Missing Planet”

Diamonds meteorite that exploded in Sudan in 2008 provides evidence of a “lost planet” that is said to be an existing planet for about four billion years ago in the solar system, according to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. 

An expert team from Switzerland, Germany, and France examined the so-called slice of Almahata Sitta meteorite which was one of the exploded parts during the 2008 Sudan meteorite shower. The Almahatta Sitta meteorites is a rare type of stony meteorite that contains clusters of nano-sized diamonds. 

The diamonds in the meteorites has phosphate, chromite and iron-nickel sulfides embedded in them. It is also known as the “inclusion,” according to the EPFL press release. These have been seen for a long time to exist inside the diamonds which are found on Earth, but this is the very first time to have been encountered an extra-terrestrial object.

It is then thought that these diamonds can form in different ways: the normal static pressure inside the parent body, (like most Earthly diamonds), deposition by chemical vapor and enormous pressure shockwaves from high-energy collisions between the parent body of the meteorites and other space objects. 

The research team also calculated that a 2.9 million psi would be needed to form a diamond. They also studied and was determined that the planet is at least as big as the planet Mercury. It is also thought that the early solar system was once containing more planets. 

There were also embryos that contains Mars-sized bodies, like the one that collide with the Earth and that give rise to the moon. Others went to form larger planets or crashed with the sun or ejected from the solar system. The study conducted by the experts provides convincing evidence that that parent body of the meteorites was one a large planet before. This large planet before was destroyed by the collisions by nearly 4.5 million years ago. The research has been published in the Nature Communications. 

The research conducted by the scientists shows that that diamonds in some of the Almahatta Sitta meteorites was discovered to be a part of a planetary embryo with the estimated size of the Mercury to Mars. The researchers studied the diamond by using the combination of an advanced transmission electron microscopy techniques at the EPFL’s Interdisciplinary Center. The analysis of the data shows that these diamonds have inclusions. The study also shows that these diamonds are nearly 5 billion years old.