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Scientists have found a mineral stronger than diamond

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Move over, diamonds. There's stronger bling in town. Meet lonsdaleite - for years just a theory. Now CNN reports that scientists have confirmed its existence on Earth. While diamonds and lonsdaleite are both made of carbon - get ready for this - the former has a cubic atomic structure, and the latter has a hexagonal structure. So what's the big difference? That hexagonal structure makes the stone 58% stronger than regular diamonds. Lonsdaleite was found in a meteorite that scientists say came from a dwarf planet that was billions of years old. An asteroid crashed into that planet, releasing pressure that caused the stone to form. The hardness of lonsdaleite could be useful in making super durable tools for industrial sites. But scientists also say this discovery can teach us about the interactions of the universe and ultimately how Earth evolved as a planet.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.