Some of the moons and icy objects orbiting Saturn may have formed less than 100 million years ago, while dinosaurs continued to wander the Earth.
The idea that some of Saturn’s satellites may be relatively modern comes from computer models that designed lunar gravitational interactions and orbital tilts changing with time.
Astronomer Matija Cook of the SETI Institute and his colleagues concluded that the moons were replaced by a giant Titan not initially, but most likely formed in the last 2% of the planetary 4, 5 billionth history.
Saturn has at least 62 moons, 53 of which currently have names. The count does not include the hundreds of small ice objects that make up the rings of the planet. Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn (larger than the planet Mercury), is the only satellite in the solar system that has a dense atmosphere.
Although most of Saturn’s current satellites may be relatively new, models show that the planet has always had a mob of orbiting satellites.
“Our best guess is that Saturn had a similar collection of moons before, but their orbits were alarmed by a special kind of orbital resonance involving Saturn's motion around the Sun. In the end, the orbits of the neighboring moons crossed these objects and collided. From this rubble and formed today a set of moons and rings, ”- said Cook in a statement.