Space Diamonds From Dwarf Planets May Be Future Of Mining & Manufacturing
Authored by Victoria Kelly-Clark via The Epoch Times,
Tiny folded diamonds that fell to Earth from an ancient dwarf star may sound like something from an intergalactic feature film, but researchers from Australia and the United Kingdom have proven the existence of the rare gems after examining a stony meteorite.
Scientists from Australia and the UK have established the existence of lonsdaleite, a rare hexagonal diamond, no bigger than a human hair, that researchers note is layered into a distinctive folded pattern, unlike the earth-formed diamonds that have a cubic structure.
The existence of Lonsdaleite—named after the pioneering British crystallographer Dame Kathleen Lonsdale—has previously been the subject of debate because its very existence could not be proven.
The lead scientist on the research team Prof. Andy Tomkins, from Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment, said the mysteries of the rare diamond were what drove him continue researching ureilite meteorites in his lab.
Tomkins said it was a case of curiosity-driven science.
“This is exactly the sort of curiosity-piquing observation that sends scientists diving down rabbit holes for months on end,” he said.
Scientists from Australia and the UK have established the existence of lonsdaleite, a rare hexagonal diamond no bigger than human hair. Image shows the ‘The Rock,’ a 228.31-karat pear-shaped white diamond, in Geneva on May 6, 2022. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)
Naturally formed ureilite meteorites contains a higher abundance of diamond than any known rock on Earth. They are also one of the few opportunities to study the mantle layer of dwarf planets.
The samples are created when asteroids collide with a planet while still hot, creating the ideal conditions for lonsdaleite and diamond growth due to moderate pressure and rapid temperature drops in the fluid and gas-rich environment.
“These findings help address a long-standing mystery regarding the formation of the carbon phases in ureilites that has been the subject of much speculation,” Tomkins said.
Tomkins also collaborated with researchers from the CSIRO, RMIT University, the Australian Synchrotron, and Plymouth University to discover samples of lonsdaleite in nature, offering an insight into potential replication of the process for industrial purposes.
“These diamonds are quite special,” said Alan Salek, physicist and RMIT PhD researcher.
“Normal diamonds that you would find here on Earth, like on an engagement ring, have a specific atomic structure that’s cubic. These special diamonds are hexagonal in structure.”
“It’s pretty exciting because it’s a new form of material.”
The unique shape is believed to be why lonsdaleite is stronger than any other diamond.
Significant Implications For Mining and Manufacturing
CSIRO scientist Colin MacRae in a media release, said the discovery has enormous potential for industries like mining.
“If something that’s harder than diamond can be manufactured readily, that’s something industry would want to know about,” MacRae said.
Macrae noted that the discovery meant they could find a way to reproduce the mineral.
“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,” he said.
At present, the current method for producing industrial diamonds involves chemical vapour deposition, in which diamonds are formed onto a substrate from a gas mix at low pressures.
Alien space debris stuck in Earth’s orbit, researchers say
Recently, a group of experts from Harvard University, led by physics
professor Avi Loeb, announced the possible presence of alien space
debris in Earth’s orbit, reports the Daily Star.
space research expert Professor Loeb is confident that the discovery of
such “interstellar objects could help expand our knowledge of possible
alien civilizations and technologies. A team of scientists is conducting
research to confirm that some of the objects in our orbit may be
connected to other star systems.
During an interview with Live
Science, Professor Loeb explained that these objects could enter the
solar system from interstellar space, defying Jupiter’s gravitational
pull and occupying limited orbits around the sun.
Some of them may
have technological origins similar to the probes sent by mankind into
interstellar space, such as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and 11
and New Horizons.
despite these interesting assumptions, Professor Loeb did not specify
what specific objects he was talking about. In his research report, he
notes that there could be “a significant number” of potentially
detectable objects in Earth’s orbit.
To confirm their assumptions,
the team of scientists uses computer simulations and the Vera Rubin
Observatory (Chile) with a high-resolution camera of 3.2 billion pixels.
This will allow for regular observations of the Southern sky and the
possibility of detecting several captured objects about the size of a
It is assumed that these interstellar objects passed through the
boundaries of the solar system and may carry unique information about
other civilizations and their technologies. If we could confirm the
origin of these objects, the mysteries that open before us, this would
be a real breakthrough in space exploration.
expresses hope that the new research will not only help expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial technologies, but may also lead to the
discovery of new alien civilizations . Answers to such questions can be
of global significance and influence our understanding of the place of
mankind in the Universe.
while there are still many questions and assumptions, the study by
Professor Loeb and his team opens a new chapter in space exploration.
Each new discovery can be the key to deciphering the mysteries of the
cosmos and the possibility of encountering alien life forms.
Betelgeuse is acting strange again
Betelgeuse, a red giant on the brink of death, continues to show
unusual behavior. After the Great Blackout, which occurred in late 2019
and early 2020, the star became unusually bright. It is now the seventh
brightest star in the sky, while it normally ranks tenth. This has led
to speculation that Betelgeuse is preparing to explode in a
spectacularly large supernova.
However, scientists believe it’s too early to tell, and it’s likely
that this behavior is due to ongoing fluctuations after the Great
Blackout of 2019, and the star will return to normal within a decade.
Betelgeuse is one of the most interesting stars in the sky. It is
about 700 light-years from Earth and is a red giant in the last stage of
its life. It is also an unusual star for a red giant because it was
previously a monster blue-white O-type star, the most massive class of
Betelgeuse has changed its spectral type because it has almost
exhausted its hydrogen reserves. It now burns helium into carbon and
oxygen and has expanded to a gigantic size: about 764 times the size of
the Sun and about 16.5 to 19 times its mass.
Eventually it will run out of fuel to burn, become a supernova, eject
its outer material, and its core will collapse into a neutron star.
Before the Great Blackout, Betelgeuse also had periodic fluctuations
in brightness. The longest of these cycles is about 5.9 years and the
other is 400 days. But it seems that the Great Blackout caused changes
in these oscillations.
A new paper by astrophysicist Morgan McLeod of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has shown that the 400-day
cycle appears to have been halved. This pulsational cycle is probably
caused by expansion and contraction within the star. According to
simulations carried out by MacLeod and his colleagues, the convective
flow inside Betelgeuse may have risen and become material that separates
from the star.
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