Found In Egypt's Desert: A Piece Of A Comet's Heart

Scientists say they've located the first definitive proof of a comet hitting Earth: a diamond-studded pebble they've named after legendary female philosopher-scientist Hypatia of Alexandria.

What's the Latest Development?


A black pebble is the first-ever piece of a comet nucleus discovered on Earth, say a team of scientists led by Jan Kramers of the University of Johannesberg. The pebble is also studded with diamonds, which makes sense considering its origins: "Normally [diamonds] form deep in the Earth, where the pressure is high, but you can also generate very high pressure with shock. Part of the comet impacted, and the shock of the impact produced the diamonds." That impact, which took place about 28 million years ago over Egypt, also created large amounts of yellow silica glass across 6,000 square kilometers of the Sahara. A study detailing the research will appear in a forthcoming issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

What's the Big Idea?

Scientists are fairly certain that comets have struck Earth before, but until now the only evidence existed in dust particles embedded in Antarctic ice and floating in the upper atmosphere. Because comets were created when the solar system first formed, the pebble -- named Hypatia in honor of the ancient Egyptian astronomer and philosopher -- will provide a great deal of scientific information about that time in astronomical history at significantly less expense than going up into space and collecting comet material, says Kramers.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at SPACE.com

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less

New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Keep reading Show less
Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
Keep reading Show less