Kieran Dixon / Staff reporter

July 2004 marks the month the Cassini-Huygens orbiter and probe captured the first close up photos of Saturn’s rings. The craft was launched in October of 1997 and embarked on a successful 2.2-billion-mile journey that took 7 years. Its mission was to study Saturn’s atmosphere, weather, magnetic fields, moons, and rings, and bring detailed pictures and info back to earth for scientist to study.

NASA scientist have recently released a study that those rings around Saturn, may not be so old after all. The Cassini space craft was able to reveal that this gas giant once existed without those iconic rings and could’ve been developed as recent as 10 million years ago.

This newfound information opens a lot of doors for scientists at NASA, like the ability to determine what the rings are created from by weighing pieces of the ring’s material, using the gravitational pull around the rings.

“The first time I looked at the data I didn’t believe it, because I trusted our models and it took a while to sink in that there was some effect that changed the gravity field that we had not considered” said Burkhard Militzer, a professor of earth and planetary science at the University of California.

The Cassini space craft was able to act as a probe for NASA scientist, and aloud them to get so close to the planet, they could experience the gravitational push and pull of the gas giants’ atmosphere, before it sent it plummeting to ground, destroying it. “Only by getting so close to Saturn in Cassini’s final orbits were we able to gather the measurements to make the new discoveries” said Cassini radio science team member Luciano Iess.

Recent studies have also shown that the material that makes up these iconic rings, are plummeting into the planets surface faster than their being produced. The rings are already halfway to their death. Scientist say we live in an extraordinary era, a short blip in the universe’s timeline, where the iconic rings of Saturn exist. If you go back 100 million years to the time of the dinosaurs, and could some how look up at Saturn you would not be able to see the ice and rubble that makes up Saturn’s rings, and this may be the case for our far future ancestors.

NASA is not yet finished with its obsession with the gas giant. The company released a statement on June 27, 2019, that they will be sending another probe on its way to Saturn, but this time to the planets largest moon, titan. The spacecraft is panned to launch in 2026 and land on the moon 8 years later. Two- and one-half years will be spent traversing across three of Saturn’s biggest 200-mile-wide moons, the 10 foot long dragonfly drone will travel a total 110 miles over 12 separate flights, and will collect information and pictures at each stop over its almost decade long journey

https://vineship.com/nasa-is-sending-a-life-looking-drone-to-saturns-enormous-moon-titan

“Dragonfly will go to a world full of a vast number of natural compounds that are the constructing blocks of life and will train us concerning the origin of life itself ,” stated Thomas Zurbuchen in the recent announcement. The spacecraft will be coming back down to earth in the late 2040’s, and will be one of the greatest A.I flown space exhibitions in human history.

NASA is not yet finished with its obsession with the gas giant. The company released a statement on June 27, 2019, that they will be sending another probe on its way to Saturn, but this time to the planets largest moon, titan. The spacecraft is panned to launch in 2026 and land on the moon 8 years later. Two- and one-half years will be spent traversing across three of Saturn’s biggest 200-mile-wide moons, the 10 foot long dragonfly drone will travel a total 110 miles over 12 separate flights, and will collect information and pictures at each stop over its almost decade long journey. “Dragonfly will go to a world full of a vast number of natural compounds that are the constructing blocks of life and will train us concerning the origin of life itself.” Stated Thomas Zurbuchen in the recent announcement. the spacecraft will be coming back down to earth in the late 2040’s, and will be one of the greatest A.I flown space exhibitions in human history.