Although NASA’s Cassini mission ended back in 2017, the spacecraft continued to send data until it went offline. In a recently published paper in Science, scientists revealed some interesting findings thanks to the data the spacecraft had sent back to Earth.
In an official blog post, NASA revealed how the scientists decided to set the spacecraft to complete a bunch of risky dives through Saturn’s rings to send as much information as possible back to Earth. Interestingly, after analyzing the data, scientists discovered that Saturn’s rings have their own identity.
The researchers noted, “We find structures related to the detailed sculpting of rings by embedded masses, including structures near the moon Daphnis that have apparently experienced markedly different perturbations compared to the surrounding ring material, and complex structure elements within the largest propeller-shaped disturbances.”
NASA continues, “Like a planet under construction inside a disk of protoplanetary material, tiny moons embedded in Saturn’s rings interact with the particles around them. In that way, the paper provides further evidence that the rings are a window into the astrophysical disk processes that shape our solar system.”
NASA goes on to explain how the new findings have given the scientists a new perspective regarding the planet’s rings. As they continue to analyze Cassini’s data, more details regarding the mysterious planet are likely to come out in the foreseeable future.