Diamonds are forever

In October 2008, an asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere and shattered above Nubian Desert in Sudan raining down multiple fragments across the desert. Now, researchers from EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, have examined a slice of one of those meteorites and discovered that it contains large diamonds that are thought to have formed at high pressure. The implication of the study is that these chunks of crystalline carbon have to have been formed in a parent body of that asteroid that was a planetary embryo between the diameter of Mercury and Mars. Models of planetary formation predict that such planetary embryos would have existed during the first million years or so of our solar system. The study detailed in the journal Nature Communications adds to the evidence for such heavenly bodies.