Doubt in the age of the Saturn’s Rings

Doubt in the age of the Saturn’s Rings

According to a new study, the great debate on Saturn rings is way away from settling.

Since many years, scientists have been arguing about the age of the famous rings of Saturn: Are they antique, starting from the birth of the planet itself? Or there was the formation of the ring system more lately? In just the last 100 million years or so?

In the past few years, there has been gain in the steaming of the latter hypothesis, with numerous papers stating the report that the rings could age back to the time of dinosaurs. Such studies refer to the composition of the rings that have over 95 percent pure water ice and total mass, which was pegged by Cassini mission of NASA at almost 15.4 million billion metric tons soon after the research’s ‘grand finale’ at Saturn two years back.

Considering these two figures, and the rate of bombardment by the micrometeoroids, the rings should not be too old, the idea goes. In spite of everything, old rings should have proof of more contamination with organic molecules, silicates, as well as, other compounds.

However, there are a couple of serious problems with this interpretation, claims the new study, which was headed by Aurelien Crida from the Institut Universitaire de France and the Universite Cote d’Azur. For the beginner, the scientists stated, the rate of bombardment might vary over time. It is rarely high right now maybe because of a hypothetical latest collision of distant Kuiper Belt objects, for instance, and there were very much fewer stains on the rings for most of their history.

It was noted by Crida and his colleagues that during the grand finale, organics were detected by Cassini in the upper atmosphere of Saturn, as well as, solid grains in the space between the innermost ring and the gas giant. Certainly, this stuff is coming from the rings, the researchers told.