Many scientists think that Saturn’s rings have always been there. However, a recent observation by the NASA has shown that the rings are relatively new. Scientists have found that the rings did not exist until a few hundred million years ago. If astronomers would have looked at the sky when dinosaurs were around, then they may have not seen any rings.
Scientists have different theories about how the rings were created. Some scientists believe that the rings developed when a comet or asteroid collided with an icy moon. Others believe that the Saturn’s moons may have have shifted or been pulled apart.
Even though scientists do not know exactly how the rings form, they agree that the rings were not a part of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago. Jeff Cuzzi is a ring specialist who works at the NASA Ames Research Center, which is located at Mountain View, California. He stated that the mass of the rings is one of the things that prove that the rings were not around billions of years ago.
There is a clear link between mass and age. Larry Esposito is a planetary scientist who works at CU Boulder. He stated that a Voyager spacecraft flew past Saturn in the 1980s. The scientists found that the rings had a low mass. This could possibly indicate that the rings were relatively young.
Sascha Kempf is a space physicist who works at the University of Colorado. She was involved in a 12-year-study that measured micrometoriete flux, which are extraterresial particles. They concluded that the rings were between 150 and 300 million years old based on the results of the study.
Scientists have started to study how the rings formed. Jeff Cuzzi stated that he is excited about the upcoming studies. He believes that the Solar System is full of surprises.