Saturn Is Losing Its Rings, Guess Who’s Finally Single and Ready to Mingle?

What do short-order cooks, cable TV subscribers, good manners, and the rings of Saturn all have in common? They’re disappearing fast.

According to planetary scientists, Saturn’s most distinctive feature, its gorgeous halo of ice and rock, will vanish within a scant 300 million years. Like divorce proceedings performed at a galactically glacial speed, Saturn is ditching its rings for a decidedly single look and lifestyle. And we’re happy for him.

From a purely mechanical point of view, the zillions of tiny particles that make up the nighttime nimbus are being swept away by solar radiation and micrometeorites. Precisely the way humans lose collagen every year until we’re nothing more than a sac of skin and bones complaining about life from the confines of our favorite chair, Saturn is steadily losing ring matter.

Eventually, all the beautiful bits will be swept into Saturn’s atmosphere as “ring rain” and vaporize in the planet’s ammonia ice crystal clouds. Just like the honeymoon phase of every relationship we’ve ever had.

Which brings us to the real crisis here: How can we ever expect to survive a long-term relationship when even the planets can’t commit? After all, no one knows how Saturn got its rings in the first place. Though we have it on good authority that Pluto talked him into it after making everyone believe she was a planet.

Cover Photo: HUM Images (Getty Images)