But the most exciting thing about this space rock is it contains tiny fragments of diamonds - yes, diamonds! Diamonds discovered inside one of the recovered meteorites may have come from a destroyed planet that orbited our sun billions of years ago, scientists said on Tuesday.
Was found after the explosion, the meteor was mainly composed of coarse-grained rocks (olivine and pyroxene), which could be formed in the mantle of "planet-Bud", and the concentration of carbon in them was unusually high.
Following years of research, a new study has found that the tiny diamonds contain compounds that are only produced under intense pressure, suggesting they were formed far beneath the surface of a planet. Because diamonds are forged at vast pressures and temperatures, typically deep inside the planet, the various materials that get trapped inside are quite hard to get a hold of at the surface - and diamonds can preserve them for billions of years. We discovered chromite, phosphate, and (Fe, Ni)-sulfide inclusions embedded in diamond.
This level of internal pressure can only be explained if the planetary parent body was a Mercury-to Mars-sized planetary "embryo", depending on the layer in which the diamonds were formed, the study said.
Therefore, the Almahata Sitta meteorites finally confirm the existence of large proto-planetary bodies, which had only been speculated until now. 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.
The researchers studied the diamond samples using a combination of advanced transmission electron microscopy techniques at EPFL's Interdisciplinary Centre for Electron Microscopy.
These are two of the smallest planets in the solar system, which was forged about 4.6 billion years ago. He plans to seek out similar meteorites and search them for inclusions that might provide clues about their origins.
Also, the diamonds would have formed deep within whatever planet it was from, notes the report. Meenakshi Wadhwa, a meteorite researcher at Arizona State University, who was not involved in the latest study, said, "What makes this study so exciting is that it is direct evidence from an actual rock that there was a large protoplanetary body that is no longer around". Some of these bodies were almost as big as Mars and one of them, dubbed Theia, collided with Earth to throw our moon into orbit. There you'll find the paper entitled "A large planetary body inferred from diamond inclusions in a ureilite meteorite" authored by Farhang Nabiei, James Badro, Teresa Dennenwaldt, Emad Oveisi, Marco Cantoni, Cécile Hébert, Ahmed El Goresy, Jean-Alix Barrat, and Philippe Gillet.