Saturn Is Like an Antiques Shop, Cassini Suggests; Moons and Rings Date Back to Solar System's Birth
Mar. 27, 2013 — A new analysis of data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft suggests that Saturn's moons and rings are gently worn vintage goods from around the time of our solar system's birth.
Though they are tinted on the surface from recent "pollution," these bodies date back more than 4 billion years. They are from around the time that the planetary bodies in our neighborhood began to form out of the protoplanetary nebula, the cloud of material still orbiting the sun after its ignition as a star. The paper, led by Gianrico Filacchione, a Cassini participating scientist at Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics, Rome, has just been published online by The Astrophysical Journal