A team of scientists at NASA has confirmed that the iconic rings surrounding Saturn are slowly disappearing, and this unique feature of the planet will get completely disappeared in the next 100 million years. As per NASA experts, these rings are being rapidly pulled apart due to the influence of the planet's strong magnetic field.
Scientists believe that the total age of Saturn is 4 billion years, and compared to this large time span, 100 million years is quite short, and if Saturn's ring material starts falling to the planet's equator in such an amazing speed, the entire beauty of this ringed planet will be lost soon.
"We estimate that this 'ring rain' drains an amount of water products that could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool from Saturn's rings in half an hour. From this alone, the entire ring system will be gone in 300 million years, but add to this the Cassini-spacecraft measured ring-material detected falling into Saturn's equator, and the rings have less than 100 million years to live," said James O'Donogue, a scientist at NASA's Space Flight Center in a recently issued statement.
Scientists have wondered whether Saturn was formed in the solar system with its unique rings. However, the new research suggests that the planet might have formed without the rings, and this structures might have become a part of the space body around 100 million years ago.
"We are lucky to be around to see Saturn's ring system, which appears to be in the middle of its lifetime. However, if rings are temporary, perhaps we just missed out on seeing giant ring systems of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, which have only thin ringlets today," added O'Donogue.
Saturn's rings are mostly made up of chunks of water ice which ranges from microscopic dust grains to boulders that stretches for many miles.