facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Saturn's moons and rings called 'vintage'

March 27, 2013 at 4:18 PM   |   Comments

PASADENA, Calif., March 27 (UPI) -- NASA says observation of Saturn's rings and moon suggests they are gently worn "vintage" goods from around the time of our solar system's birth.

A new analysis of data from the orbiting Cassini spacecraft suggests that although the rings and the surfaces of the moons are colored by more recent "pollution" from dust and cosmic impacts, these bodies date back more than 4 billion years.

The coloring is generally only skin-deep, and a closer examination of the rings and moons shows their true origin was around the time the planetary bodies in our solar system began to form out of the protoplanetary nebula, the cloud of material still orbiting the sun after its ignition as a star, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Tuesday.

"Studying the Saturnian system helps us understand the chemical and physical evolution of our entire solar system," Gianrico Filacchione, a Cassini participating scientist at Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics said, "We know now that understanding this evolution requires not just studying a single moon or ring, but piecing together the relationships intertwining these bodies."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
1
Say goodbye to Chinese sturgeon Say goodbye to Chinese sturgeon
2
Video shows scientists dissecting colossal squid Video shows scientists dissecting colossal squid
3
Impact that doomed dinos enabled spread of modern forests Impact that doomed dinos enabled spread of modern forests
4
First 3D-printed car unveiled in Chicago First 3D-printed car unveiled in Chicago
5
Apple's latest operating system rolls out Wednesday afternoon Apple's latest operating system rolls out Wednesday afternoon
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback