Embedded between Saturn's rings is a collection of mini-moons that NASA's Cassini spacecraft skimmed in 2017.
On Thursday, astronomers and scientists explain their findings on the moons of the US journal Science.
Pan, Daphnis, Atlas, Pandora and Epimetheus each measure between eight and 116km in diameter. They are either round, shaped like flying saucers or similar to potatoes.
They are pinched in the holes that separate the planet's rings.
Cassini spent 13 years near Saturn.
In the last year of operation, it entered between the rings and sent data back to Earth until it became dark on September 1
About 4000 scientific articles have been published on Cassini's results, and the knowledge well is hardly daring.
"I want to work for at least a decade on these things," said Bonnie Buratti, a planetary astronomer at the US spacecraft's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, to AFP.
The data captured by Cassini's instruments is still being assessed. The survey published on Thursday is just an example of the discoveries that have yet to come.
But the study strengthens the dominant theory that Saturn's rings and moons originate from the same celestial body that shattered as a result of a kind of collision. 19659002] The Crescent Moon
"The largest fragments became the core of these ring moon," Buratti, a 33-year-old NASA veteran, explained.
"And what happened was the moons continued to accumulate particles from the rings – that's what we saw so closely, the accumulation of the ring material on the moon."
This would explain the gaps left behind by the moons .
More than three dozen co-authors from the United States, United Kingdom Germany and Italy worked on the study published on Thursday – a quite remarkable collaboration, according to Buratti.
"It's all in flux, science driven by disagreements," she said.
The question of astronomers is to find out how old the rings are.
A study released in January based on Cassini data concluded that they were relatively young – somewhere between 100 million and one billion years old.
But other models and methods suggest another answer.
"Science is never cut and dried – you never have your final answer," Buratti said.
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