Scientists: dinosaurs caught the formation of Saturn’s rings

According to scientists, the age of Saturn is about 4.5 billion years. It was believed that his ring is also formed long ago, but new research astronomers say that they appeared from 10 to 100 million years ago, in the era of the dinosaurs. A new discovery has forced scholars to reconsider their views on the theory of the formation of the planet and its rings in particular. They even consider to send to the planet new research probe.

Кольца Сатурна

The discovery was made in the course of studying the data sent burnt in the atmosphere of Saturn spacecraft Cassini. Information was collected during the final phase of the mission of the unit, when he made 22-of-flight between the planet and ring. The trajectory allowed her to measure the strength of the gravitational field of the planet and seamlessly send this information to Earth.

Thanks to it, scientists have learned the total mass of rings: 15 quintillion kilograms. Opening impressed scientists, as this rate is approximately 7000 times less than the mass of the moon and approximately 0.4 times the mass of a small moon of Saturn called Mimas. Subsequently, scientists put forward the view that the rings are still very young and have not formed over 100 million years ago.

The study’s lead author Luciano Iess adheres to the theory that the rings were formed after the collision of the planet with another large object, which broke into pieces and evenly distributed along the orbit. In addition, there are other theories of their formation — for example, they could arise because of the strong gravity of Saturn, which made him ancient satellites to fall on its surface. Also, it is believed that the planet simply does not have the power to attract dust and small fragments from which the planets formed, so just keeps them nearby.

According to researcher Kelly Miller, the exact age of the rings you can learn, get more data on the composition of the rings. Unfortunately, at the moment make it extremely difficult astronomers will have to send to the planet new probe, whose main task will be collecting samples from the rings.

Recall that the last phase of the mission of the probe “Cassini” passed April 26, 2017. More information about this event can be read in our special article.

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