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SPACE

Scientists determine the age of Saturn’s rings

Scientists determine the age of Saturn’s rings
The Siliconreview
23 September, 2019

In a recent study that was conducted by the Southwest Research Institute, scientists tried to determine the age of Saturn’s rings and concluded that they may be as old as the solar system itself. This study was conducted by referring to data that was retrieved by the 2017 Cassini spacecraft which revealed the rings of Saturn that were clear and composed of almost pure, icy water.

"After Cassini's mission ended, there was a small flood of research that claimed the rings were much younger than we had considered them to be. A common argument was that the rings, if much older, would have become much more polluted as a result of meteoroids crashing into them," said a scientist from the research panel.

While some argue saying that the rings can’t be billions of years old considering they will absorb pollutants and darken, the researchers put up a rebuttal saying that the mass of the rings is consistent with findings of other billion year old primordial rings. Another argument that they presented was that the rings are losing their mass as the center by giving it away to Saturn while their edges spread out and swallow the satellites. This might be proof the age of the rings as it is a common phenomenon for them to spread out over the years.