Saturn's rings are 'very young'

Last updated at 07:36
The end phases of the mission should yield new information about Saturn's interiorCassini Imaging Team/SSI/JPL/ESA/NASA

The famous rings around the planet Saturn are very young, according to scientists.

They're no more than 100 million years old.

While we might think that means they're really old, that's just a short time in the life of the solar system.

It's likely the rings were formed when dinosaurs still walked the Earth!

Artwork: Cassini plunged between the rings and the planet's cloudtopsNASA

The new information has come from the Nasa's Cassini probe mission which ended in 2017.

There's been a long-running debate about the age of Saturn's rings.

Some thought the massive loops of icy particles were probably formed at the same time as the planet itself 4.5 billion years ago.

While others argued they were more recent and possibly the crushed up remains of a moon or a passing comet that was involved in a collision.

Now we know there was a time when Saturn existed without its rings but we still don't know their exact age or how they were formed.

More findings from the Cassini probe's data are still to be published, so hopefully they'll help answer even more questions about the second biggest planet in our solar system.


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