Using data recorded by the Cassini spacecraft between 2004 and 2017, American and British scientists created scenarios that could explain how Saturn’s distinctive rings formed.

Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system after Jupiter, and in addition to its ring system consisting of seven concentric circles, it also has 245 moons. It is not surprising that astronomers have long wanted to uncover its secret, especially how the unique ring system was created. A recently published study could provide an answer to this question, writes A website.

Researchers from NASA and Durham University in the United Kingdom conducted a series of computer simulations based on data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft between 2004 and 2017. The spacecraft found icy rocks in Saturn’s rings that were not contaminated with dust, suggesting that the rings are relatively recent, perhaps only a few million years ago.

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For this reason, the researchers hypothesized that the rings may have formed as a result of the collision of two icy moons. To support this theory, a supercomputer was used to simulate 200 possible scenarios.

the Astrophysical Journalin According to a published publication, the collision of two icy moons – which are the size of the current moons Dione and Rhea – may explain the presence of the rings. Of the two moons, one may be about a third the size of Earth’s moon, and the other is a little smaller than half that size.

According to Vincent Ecke, a scientist at the university, such a collision could have brought enough material closer to Saturn to form the rings.

Although the rings are composed almost entirely of ice chunks, researchers believe the cores of both objects were probably rocky, so different pieces were scattered in different ways. It is possible that the rocky fragments merged to form new moons.

By the way, researchers aren’t dealing with Saturn just because of the rings these days. They believe Enceladus may have the right conditions for life to form, so they will take a closer look at the celestial body in the future.

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