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Saturn's Rings May Be Very Old

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the even-older-than-bob dept.

Space 125

Kristina from Science News writes "Combining computer simulations with data about the way starlight shines through Saturn's rings suggests the individual grains are big and thus could have been around a good 4 billion years, not the mere 10 million to 100 million previously suspected. What may have thrown earlier observations off is the chance that the grains aren't evenly distributed, but clump here and spread out there."

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Frosty Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25126661)

Posted from the rings of saturn, this is your first post.

Oh, I took a ride, on a Gemini Spacecraft! And I thought about you!
[anybody get the reference?]

Re:Frosty Post! (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126949)

> Oh, I took a ride, on a Gemini Spacecraft! And I thought about you!

Bowie, although I think it's "trip" not "ride".

Re:Frosty Post! (2, Informative)

117 (1013655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127915)

It's actually a song written by the Legendary Stardust Cowboy [stardustcowboy.com] (the inspiration for the Ziggy Stardust character), Bowie covered it for his Heathen album.

That's not too surprising (3, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126665)

Saturn was more faithful than Zeus in the mythology, it makes sense that it would have had its ring for a while.

Re:That's not too surprising (2, Funny)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126779)

In any case, we now know Saturn's rings were there a good couple of years before the republican candidate, at least.

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127117)

In any case, we now know Saturn's rings were there a good couple of years before the republican candidate, at least.

Actually, I'd be surprised if McCain had ever even visited Saturn. Although I wondered often during the primary races if a couple of the candidates had extraterrestrial origins.

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127677)

Well, every time I hear about Bush doing something stupid, I remind myself that I voted for Kodos...

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128287)

Has McCain visited Uranus yet? If so, what did he find and did he enjoy the trip?

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

shimmyshimpson (1305497) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130477)

Klingons

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130297)

Actually, I'd be surprised if McCain had ever even visited Saturn.

  I think everybody would. :)

  SB

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127271)

And Saturn does a better job at keeping rings on than McCain does, too.

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 5 years ago | (#25129985)

My happiest moments on slashdot are those when I'm modded a positive flamebait value. Apparently, some mods have been giving McCain blowjobs since before Saturn had rings. Jeeze, lighten up you guys! :)

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

chemisus (920383) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130243)

In any case, we now know Saturn's rings were there a good couple of years before the republican candidate, at least.

maybe the republican candidate, but id be willing to bet al gore invented the saturn rings

Re:That's not too surprising (4, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126781)

You're mixing you're mythology. Saturn is Roman, Zeus is Greek :). Not that the joke wasn't funny, but it just looks odd ;).

Re:That's not too surprising (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127113)

Greco-Roman gods are often mixed, but the Romans loved Greek culture and religion so much, they adopted all their deities! Jupiter == Zeus and Saturn == Cronos

So....since cron is named for Cronos, it actually does make sense that Saturn would hold on to things for a long time, just waiting for the right time to use them....

(Doesn't that just sound ominous?)

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128451)

Technically, Zeus emasculated his father Cronus (AKA Kronos, AKA Saturn) so really we are all just saying that Saturn is just a really a very very very old eunuch?

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25129829)

I dunno. You'd probably have to ask Ken Thompson. I hear he's the world's foremost expert on very, very, very old eunuchs.

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25131395)

Dear Sir, eunuchs once possessed balls...

Re:That's not too surprising (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127443)

It was a multicultural joke.

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

swrona (594974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127519)

Still would have worked better referencing Jupiter in place of Zeus. That whole multi-level thing you know?

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127675)

You're not one of these people who gets upset about the word television [wiktionary.org] , are you?

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128079)

I wasn't one of those people until I read your comment but I am now. Thanks.

Re:That's not too surprising (3, Funny)

rickkas7 (983760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127683)

You're mixing your contractions and possessives, so maybe you could call it even?

Re:That's not too surprising (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127987)

Thank's for pointing that out. That always bug's me.

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25128635)

You're all wrong. Those rocks are 6000 years old.

Sarah Palin.

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25128411)

And correcting the obvious joke makes you look like.. a douche.. congrats :)

Re:That's not too surprising (2, Funny)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126823)

Saturn was more faithful than Zeus in the mythology, it makes sense that it would have had its ring for a while.

To be fair, it is easy to be faithful when you have 1000's [answers.com] of wives.

Re:That's not too surprising (5, Funny)

flydude18 (839328) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126843)

Hey, if your wife was a bitch like Hera, you too would get wasted and go around taking various forms and impregnating mortal women, so don't judge.

Re:That's not too surprising (5, Funny)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127585)

Mortal women are easy.

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25128233)

If I hadn't used all my points earlier, I'd mod you up - somebody give parent some luv!

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

mcbutterbuns (1005301) | more than 5 years ago | (#25131885)

Not if you're a slashdot reader

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25128227)

Zeus had no right to complain. He should have dated around instead of banging his sister. You'd be bitchy too if your brother decided losing your virginity needed to be a family affair!

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25128873)

Well, I guess that explains Bill Clinton....

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127615)

Oh, a Slashdot joke about planetary rings not referencing Uranus, how refreshing!

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25130197)

Yeah, the smell of Uranus missing is refreshing.

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

kjllmn (1337665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127761)

Mythology: Saturn (Kronos) is "the old man", father of Jupiter (Zeus), and it makes sense if he is the oldest of them all. The rest of the guys and gals are the new kids on the block.

Re:That's not too surprising (1)

evilklown (1008863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128609)

Why do you spread this web of lies!?!?! The rings on Saturn can't be that old because the universe was created 6000 years ago! Everyone knows that if you believe in Zeus you are condemned to hell, right? I mean, that's what the president said, so it has to be true...

Re:That's not too surprising (2, Informative)

prozaker (1261190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25129649)

if I remember correctly cronos was the son of uranus and zeus was the son of cronos.

"Cronos is the wily, youngest and most terrible of the children of Uranus, whom he hated. He castrated his father and became ruler of the universe, but was later overthrown by his own son Zeus."

http://www.maicar.com/GML/Cronos.html [maicar.com] in reality both were really bad :(

Re:That's not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25131027)

Yeah that would have been funny in, like, the eighties.

Roger Ebert's explanation: (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126693)

The rings were created by unicorn farts and pixie dust 2000 years ago...

=Smidge=

I think it's cool... (2, Interesting)

davidangel (1337281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126725)

that Saturn's rings are governed by Shepherd Moons.

Shepard Moons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127641)

They can be seen Only IF it is A Day Without Rain, when you can Paint the Sky with Stars.

Or not. (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126741)

The article seems to contradict itself:

The origin and age of Saturns rings has been a riddle for decades, notes Jeff Cuzzi of NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. He notes that the gravitational interactions between particles in Saturns A ring and adjacent moons would transfer momentum from the rings to the moons, pushing the moons outward and slowing down the ring particles. If the rings were really as old as Esposito suggests, then the moons would be much farther away than they are and the A ring would have fallen into the B ring, he says.

You don't seem to understand journalism (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127207)

1. It's not as much self-contradicting, as two different people are supporters of two different theories. One of them is obviously wrong, and they'll have to compare the evidence and find out who. In the end that's how science works.

But at any rate, it's not that theory X contradicts itself. It's just that theory X contradicts established theory Y. Or at least someone thinks he has data which contradicts theory Y, and his own theory X explains better. That's expected. If it didn't contradict anything, it wouldn't be much of a piece of news, and probably the old one would fit Occam's Razor better.

2. Well, you don't seem to understand journalism. These guys can't just tell you "X says Y", because that would violate their fucked-up notion of journalistic impartiality. They _have_ to present the opposite point of view too, even if they have to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel to have an opposing point of view.

Because for these guys everything is an opinion. If they feature John Jackson saying "I say your 3 percent Titanium tax goes too far!", they have to bring in Jack Johnson saying "I say your 3 percent Titanium tax doesn't go far enough!" Well, in politics those _are_ opinions, but these guys have to do the same to science articles too. If they star someone saying, "the temperature is rising", they also have to find someone who'll go "no, it's sinking!" Or viceversa. If they feature someone who says, "power lines can't cause _allergies_, silly, because that's not how your immune system works. A protein has to bind to another mollecule, see.", they also have to drag in some crackpot who'll testify how he and his dog sneeze near power lines, and he's even in a crackpot group where they all can testify that they sneeze near power lines.

Even if one or both are with degrees in gardening, bought from some fly-by-night diploma mill in Elbonia. And they can't tell you that, because that would already tell you who to believe, and that's against journalistic impartiality.

In this case it's not that bad, and it's even relevant for a change. Because I'd assume the fellow from NASA _is_ in a position to know what he's talking about. But the basic principle is the same: if X says the rings are old, they can't publish that without finding someone else who says they're new. It's just how it works. In this case they actually found a scientist for the opposing point of view. But knowing modern journalism, that's more of a happy coincidence than the rule.

3. While this may create (and does create) a lot of impression that there's a lot of controversy in science, and nobody knows anything for sure, that's really nothing lethal to science. That's how it's supposed to work. We don't know _everything_ already, or we could fire all scientists and be done with it. A theory at a given moment is just the one which best explains the existing data. When new data is found that it doesn't fully explain, we get to refine it into something better.

That's really how we moved from, say, indivisible atoms, to the raisin-pie model, to the planetary model, to the modern quantum model. Each model was good enough for a given data set, but finding more data brought it into question. Until those Rutherford, Geiger and Marsden went and shot alpha particles through a gold foil, nobody ever suspected that the positive charge is concentrated in a small nucleus. Now we know better.

The same happens here. For the data we had, the existing theory (which obviously Jeff Cuzzi represents) of new rings was good enough. Now someone found data which he thinks contradicts the existing one. It remains to be seen if he's actually right. Yes, there still is the possibility, of an "or not." But either way it's no loss. At the end of it, we'll learn a little bit more about the universe. That's the whole purpose of the exercise.

Re:You don't seem to understand journalism (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128457)

The only exception to the "show both sides" thing is a story where scientists confirm some long-held bit of common sense, or where it's a fantastic bit of sensationalism. Nobody is brought in to "balance out" findings that confirm a link between caffiene and insomnia, instead the media just spends its time loling about the obviousness of it all. (There's a section entirely about this in Metro, as though taking things for granted was good science.) Nobody is brought in to "balance out" a paper suggesting that [common environmental factor] causes autism, because the sensation is worth millions in advertising fees as it drives up their circulation. (Witness what Goldacre calls "the media's MMR hoax".)

Re:You don't seem to understand journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25128883)

This might be the BEST post about modern journalism I have EVER read.

Re:Or not. (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127269)

Or another way to look at it: the article is being honest and presenting evidence to the contrary. There are ways around Jeff's concerns, though.

Uranus! (3, Funny)

orkim (238312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126757)

Uranus jokes in: 3, 2, 1...

Re:Uranus! (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126801)

I'm not concerned about rings around Saturn, far more worrisome are the rings around Uranus.

Re:Uranus! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127267)

I had no idea slashdot had people who were geeks and metrosexual at the same time

Re:Uranus! (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130295)

Well hetero didn't work out for anyone... :P

Re:Uranus! (5, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126817)

Don't be ridiculous, scientists finally changed the name to end that stupid joke, once and for all.

Re:Uranus! (4, Funny)

jemtallon (1125407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126881)

Oh. What's it called now?

Re:Uranus! (4, Funny)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126915)

Urectum [everything2.com] .

Re:Uranus! (5, Funny)

jemtallon (1125407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126943)

http://www.instantrimshot.com/ [instantrimshot.com]

Re:Uranus! (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126981)

Was that pun intentional?

Re:Uranus! (0, Troll)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128461)

Yeah, I'm not clicking on any links in this section. I didn't provide a link out of consideration for others.

Re:Uranus! (3, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25129867)

Attn Mods: This thread is ripe with puns about Anuses. Out of all of the threads ever on slashdot, this might be one someone might post a Goatse link out of Irony. And, it might be ironic, but I still don't want to see it.

Re:Uranus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127201)

Dang near killed 'em!

Re:Uranus! (1)

ricercia (1234292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128105)

This better not be goatse!

Re:Uranus! (2, Funny)

orkim (238312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126863)

This just in. Saturn's rimjob is as old as Uranus!

Re:Uranus! (0)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127185)

Gah, yer all doin' it wrong.

"Judging by the smell, I'd say the ring around Uranus is far older"

There ya go.

Re:Uranus! (0, Redundant)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25130789)

Gah, yer all doin' it wrong.

"Judging by the smell, I'd say the ring around Uranus...

Who's doin' it wrong?

Evenly distributed? (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126765)

Why would they think they would necessarily be smooth. With the moons circling, comets flying by, Jupiter swinging around every so often. I'm surprised they're as evenly distributed as they are.

Re:Evenly distributed? (4, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127143)

Over scales of tens or hundreds of meters, none of that mattes. The nearest known moons are in the outer edge of the A ring (Pan and Daphnis) and don't affect the B ring much (moons are too small). Jupiter has no effect at all being at least 4 AU away, generally more. The larger moons can muck things up, but the effects tend to be at resonances and are pretty localized.

What Larry Esposito and others are talking about is localized clumping, more like what's known in the A ring. Over a scale of a few hundred meters, you wouldn't necessarily expect suck clumping to occur.

Re:Evenly distributed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127503)

Jupiter has no effect at all being at least 4 AU away, generally more.

Of course it has an effect, very small of course, but it is still there. Heck the other planets affect the orientation of the Earths orbit...

Re:Evenly distributed? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127905)

Agreed, which only re-enforces my idea below about why things migrate to disc shapes.

Re:Evenly distributed? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128279)

"No effect" is a reasonable way of avoiding clutter when the effect is many orders of magnitude less important than the dominant players. I figured the people who knew the difference would be able to connect the dots.

Re:Evenly distributed? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25129813)

suck clumping

I find your idea intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter, if it's illustrated.

Re:Evenly distributed? (0)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127881)

Personally, I feel that gravity still affects objects even at great distances leading to the eventual disc shaping that we normally see in clusters of space matter (like our solar system.) I of course, am not a professional scientist and everyone wants me to think that Einstein is right about a big invisible sheet in the sky that we all roll around on trying to reach the center and eventually breaking through as a black hole... but I disagree.

It makes sense to me through, and I'm not sure if I could explain it sell enough to get the idea through, but I'll try.

Let's say you have a cluster of matter all orbiting around this dense body. Eventually, all the matter will begin to attract each other from great distances trying to join through gravity. You will have some bodies orbiting in every direction, but eventually, each of those bodies will affect another and pull them closer and closer. Now, with regular orbit, the bodies (planets here out) will not be sucked into the other planet, but it will be influenced to move closer and follow the same "horizon of orbit" eventually averaging out to the disc shape we all know and love. It may take many millions/billions of years to adjust those planetary bodies into the disc shape, but eventually all objects in the universe will "flatten" out as they find an equilibrium of orbit.

Again, pure speculation, but it somehow makes sense to me. The reason we see this "perfect disc" in Saturn is because the gravitational pull is greater, thus speeding up the process.

Re:Evenly distributed? (2, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128317)

Gravity has little to do with the disk shape. Collisions drive the flatness. Collisions tend to average out speeds, so that eventually everyone moves in the same direction at almost the same speed. (In Saturn's rights, where speeds are tens of kilometers per second, relative collision speeds are at about a millimeter per second.)

Re:Evenly distributed? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25128555)

I don't know how to say this nicely, so I'll be blunt. You're a crackpot. Please don't take that bad, but you sound exactly like so many people who say, "I don't understand the math, but physics is wrong and I know better." Check out Act III [thislife.org]

You obviously don't understand the first thing about the physics you claim is false. Rubber sheets? That's just a way of explaining it to children. It's not the actual model. Discs form because angular momentum [wikipedia.org] is conserved and nothing sweeps thing into a larger body (moon, etc). There's no need for changing the rules of gravity, which have been verified to an insane degree within our own solar system. Sure there's potential problems with gravity on larger scales, maybe you're right for galaxies and bigger, but not for Saturn.

age of cosmos (2, Funny)

floatingrunner (621481) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126845)

this just in, scientists also found out that the solar system might also very old

and also (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127543)

scientists have discovered there may be old people in Korea as well.

Re:age of cosmos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127573)

What?? According to Sarah Palin, the entire universe is only 4,000 some odd years old. Could it be possible that science could refute a nutty religious belief??

"Problems" with the age (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126865)

FTA:
"If the rings were really as old as Esposito suggests, then the moons would be much farther away than they are and the A ring would have fallen into the B ring, he says."

I don't know anything about the moon distances or rings, but isn't it possible that the rings were formed over time?

The outer rings could be much older than the inner rings, for example, and as they age they move outwards and are replaced by new rings formed by impacts.

if there that old... (2, Interesting)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126901)

then who knows whats floating around in those rings, there might be some good clues to the nature of this star systems construction in there...

Re:if there that old... (2, Informative)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127219)

Not likely, the ring particles have been bouncing off of each other for a long time. Saturn's rings are dynamically-speaking one of the oldest systems known (meaning each particle has made lots of orbits) and collisions occur on the scale of at *least* a few per orbit per particle in the B ring. (If clumping is occurring, it's even higher.) So the particles will probably have evolved from that alone. Plus, we don't know where the ring material came from. There's reason to think it was from an earlier moon which broke up, in which case a lot of the material may have been reprocessed in the moon's interior.

Older than previously thought, but... (0, Redundant)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25126961)

Could they be older than McCain?

Re:Older than previously thought, but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127239)

Suck penguin cocks you linux using nerd who lives in his mom's basement.

In other news... (1)

icedcool (446975) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127149)

Space could be very big.

Saturnalia (0)

FourthLaw (1365279) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127169)

Fortunately, none of this invalidates my copious knowledge of the Kronos system gleaned from Grant Callin's novels. Whew.

Previously suspected? (1)

doesnotcomputer (1370511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127193)

Seems to me that the previous speculations were formed from non-existence data. "Now that we have actually taken the time to do a test, we can omit our guesstamation"

Re:Previously suspected? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127315)

No, they weren't. Previous theories were based on the spectra of the particles (stuff left in space gets 'weathered' with time due to meteoritic dust and high-energy particle/photon alterations) and to dynamical arguments. What this study has suggested is that the spectra are misleading because the material that's exposed now may not have always been on the surfaces.

Clumping (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127217)

What may have thrown earlier observations off is the chance that the grains aren't evenly distributed, but clump here and spread out there.

I wish they would both clump and spread there, and not here.

Re:Clumping (2, Funny)

TwoScoopsOfPig (900069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127803)

Kitty litter is more what you're looking for.

Just Well Preserved (2, Funny)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127229)

They're very old, astronomers just didn't realize it because they were stored in mothballs [slashdot.org]

So what? (0, Troll)

Longwalker-MGO (816354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127335)

I am glad she is all happy they found this out; hopefully she gets laid or something over it. Outside of her husband and the people who decided they needed to figure this out, who cares??? What does anyone get out of whether they are 10 minutes or 10 billion years old?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127739)

why don't you go back to pounding your dick to some anime pr0n and let us discuss this like adults? run along now, little bitch.

One Ring to bind them all (1, Funny)

Cigamit (200871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127339)

Of course the are old, they were forged by the Dark Lord Sauron before his conquest of middle earth. After attempting to bind the planets to his will and failing, he figured pesky little dwarfs, elves, and humans would be a bit easier.

In other news... (2, Informative)

TwoScoopsOfPig (900069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127467)

... The Sun may be very very hot.

Re:In other news... (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127557)

... but only during the day.

Re:In other news... (1)

TwoScoopsOfPig (900069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127775)

Gasp! A discovery to mull! I had always assumed by the old logic that it maintained its heat but just extinguished the light!

Damn kids (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25127493)

get off my rings!

4 billion years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25127939)

4 billion, not 5000. Take that, Sarah Palin!

I wonder how close we'll get (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128231)

I don't know much about the Cassini mission but I would imagine that they wouldn't want to jeopardize the probe by sending it too close to the rings where debris might damage her. You know what'd be cool though? If they could send in a reinforced probe similar to the Giotto probe that flew into Halley's Comet, send it as close to the rings as they can with a good telescope on board. I'd love to see actual close-up photos of the rings and see how accurate a prediction that artist's impression is.

Summary/Article wrong. (2, Funny)

hxftw (996114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25128333)

Clearly they mean 6000 years?

Are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25128935)

I mean really... are they old?

Whod'a thunk it.

rings older than the universe? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25131367)

They can't be more thsn 6000 years old.

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