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Interesting Headlines in Space & Science – September 2012

By Yona Williams    9/20/12

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If science and space interest you, the following headlines to hit the news in September 2012 are sure to entertain – including information on diamonds and meteor explosions.

Russia's Asteroid Crater Filled with Diamonds

When a meteor strikes a graphite deposit, the great force can create what is called "impact diamonds" – the kind that are significantly harder than the typical diamond. An estimated 35 million years ago, this event is thought to have taken place in the Popigai Astroblem in Siberia. This month, the country has declassified the existence of what is believed to be one of the richest diamond fields in the world. The Russian asteroid crater seems to be filled with more than $1 quadrillion of diamonds – located in the depths of a 62-mile diameter space.

The diamonds will most likely not see wedding ring settings. Their hardness makes them ideal for industrial or scientific use. The value of this natural stash of diamonds is estimated from the 'trillions of karats' the crater possesses. Diamonds can sell for $2,000 per karat, and when they are unusually large for their size, they can sell for as much as $20 million. There are downsides to a discovery such as this – impacting the per-karat price if the country decides to launch full-scale mining.

Meteor Explosion over Great Britain

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can catch the sight of a streaking meteor going across the night sky, but if that meteor possesses just a small amount of ice – the material can create a violent explosion. This month, Great Britain is reporting a meteor explosion that took place just over South Wales in the southwest part of the region this month.

The meteor's force caused car alarms to set off and shook windows. A sonic boom effect was detected. One witness claims to have seen a "heat trail behind, it was orange and white and very bright." Luckily, the meteor did not claim any lives or cause any injuries. The reason a meteor explodes is because the ice or carbon dioxide that it contains is trapped inside of the rock. When the gases start to boil, they expand upon entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Some meteors can explode with as much force as a hydrogen bomb.

Neil Armstrong Burial at Sea

The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, received a burial at sea this month. The iconic figure in the astronomy community, as well as in history, had his remains cremated and then buried in the Atlantic Ocean. A ceremony aboard the USS Philippine Sea (which had a homeport of Mayport, Florida) was held. Armstrong is remembered as a pioneer in space exploration, as well as a former Navy fighter pilot – the position he held before becoming an astronaut.

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