Analysis of samples from asteroid Ryugu reveals two types of carbonate

Samples taken from the Ryugu asteroid were analyzed grain by grain

Some asteroids are primitive objects that have changed little over the centuries and therefore hold a record of the beginning of our solar system’s history. Ryugu belongs to these objects and is part of the C-type asteroids, which contain a lot of carbon… who says carbon often means organic matter… which is of particular interest to us because they are the first building blocks that could allow life on Earth. … In total, 5 grams of rock from this asteroid were reported by Japan’s Hayabusa-2 probe in 2020.

And to study these samples, these researchers used an instrument called the MicrOmega… which is both a microscope and a spectrometer… meaning it will observe each grain one by one. We take 5mm by 5mm images for each grain and we get an infrared spectrum for each pixel of those images… this will allow us to map the surface composition of the sample, determine if we have one or the other. mineral or organic matter. The instrument analyzed 2 grains per day for two years, which is about half of the total grain return observed with grain today!

As a result, these grains contain two types of carbonates: one rich in calcium and magnesium, the other rich in iron and magnesium…. This may indicate that their formation processes occurred at different times and that organic matter was modified before arriving on Earth.

Interview with Damien Loizeau, CNRS research engineer and co-author of the Space Astrophysics Institute of Paris Saclay University

to learn


1 min

Science magazine

6 min

Nitrite consumption is associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Nitrites and nitrates are compounds found naturally in certain plants because they are part of the nitrogen cycle. But they are best known for their use as food additives to limit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in cold cuts. It is estimated to contain more than 15,000 French products. And their effects are scrutinized because some studies show that their consumption is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.


French research groups studied the relationship between this consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes – diabetes that appears in adulthood, usually after 40 years. For this, they used the NutriNet Santé cohort. Since 2009, 100,000 participants have been monitored by regularly filling out nutrition and lifestyle forms with the brands and names of the products they consume to accurately track the amount of nitrates and nitrites consumed. And over time, scientists have investigated the relationship between this consumption and the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.

As a result, participants with higher exposure to nitrites had a 27% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, no relationship was observed for nitrates. This is the first study of this magnitude to demonstrate such a link, but it does not mean that nitrites directly cause diabetes. Further research is needed to better understand the direct relationship between nitrite absorption and the onset of disease.

Scientific method

58 min

Weather report from space: Heavy snowfall on Enceladus

Enceladus is one of Saturn’s moons. We know that there is a hidden ocean beneath its surface, and that many geysers have flowed through it, pumping out salty water. Some of this water feeds Saturn’s largest ring, the E ring, and the rest will rise to the surface.

Scientists from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington showed in detail the thickness of this layer of dust… The result is that it is more than 700 meters in places… By analyzing the surface of this moon, they determined the time needed for this thickness of dust to settle… With the current flow of geysers, the age of the solar system is 4 It will take .5 billion years. According to the authors, it is unlikely that geysers formed so early and maintained a constant flow. These geysers were probably more active in the past.

Scientific method

59 min

The discovery of a combat weapon among trilobites

Trilobites are marine arthropods that went extinct at the end of the Permian period, 250 million years ago, and they dominated the oceans for more than 250 million years, making them very popular fossils for you. You’ve seen it before. quick, like sea pills. Here are the species of interest Walliserops trifurcatus …there is a trident instead of a nose.

according to

Two researchers from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania , this trident can neither be a defensive weapon, since it is not mobile and therefore effective in defending oneself against a predator, nor useful for obtaining food… because it is too long. They therefore suggest that this appendage may be used as a weapon between rival males … just as deer’s antlers allow them to fight over females.

Science, CQFD

58 min

Thanks to Damien Loizeau for his valuable comments

To continue

Research on Ryugu (Nature Astronomy)

Can nitrites in deli make you diabetic? (Le Figaro)

Research on nitrates and nitrites (Plos Medicine, in English)

About 700 meters of snow fell on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons! (Science and the Future)

Enceladus Snow Survey (Icarus, English)

Evolution: This “trident” may be the oldest known sexual weapon (SciencePost)

Trilobite Research (PNAS)

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