A “mystery” diamond from space that is reportedly tougher than any diamond on earth has finally been validated by researchers.
What Mystery Diamond?
While the existence of the cosmic diamond has been contested in the past, it has now been discovered on Earth’s surface. The stone, known as lonsdaleite, is assumed to have come to Earth via a meteorite.
The discovery has particularly interested scientists because super-durable components might be produced using an adaptation of the chemical method that created lonsdaleite.
CNN reported the story, citing a study that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal (where the discovery was first reported), and mentioning that Andy Tomkins, an Australian professor at Monash University, discovered the new stone while categorizing meteorites in northwest Africa.
Alan Salek, a co-author of the paper, claimed that Tomkins found a “strange, bent form of diamond in space rock.”
Salek reported that Tomkins believed that the dwarf planet from which the meteorite that carried the lonsdaleite to earth likely originated around 4.5 billion years ag
He said: “The dwarf planet was then catastrophically struck by an asteroid, releasing pressure and leading to the formation of these really strange diamonds.”
Paul Asimow, a professor of geology and geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, commented on the possibility that the discovery of lonsdaleite might one day be used to produce cutting-edge industrial components, saying that it “really takes advantage of a number of recent developments in microscopy to do what they did well as they did.”
With the aid of sophisticated synchrotron techniques and electron microscopy, the team analyzed and created maps of the meteorite’s constituent parts and discovered graphite in addition to lonsdaleite.
Nature sure is Amazing
Tomkins himself said: “Nature has thus provided us with a process to try and replicate in industry.
“We think that lonsdaleite could be used to make tiny, ultra-hard machine parts if we can develop an industrial process that promotes the replacement of pre-shaped graphite parts by lonsdaleite.”
Scientists originally found pieces of lonsdaleite in 1967, but they were barely a few nanometers in size.
It seems like an odd claim that we have a name for a thing, and we are all in agreement as to what it is, Asimow added, noting that scientists had previously argued over whether the mineral even existed.
“And yet there are claims in the community that it’s not a real mineral, it’s not a real crystal, that you could have a macroscopic scale.”
Would you like a look at the space rock err- diamond?