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Environmental Group Seeks to Save Saturn's Rings
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MISSOULA, Montana - A group calling itself "Save The Rings Of Saturn" is alarmed at the recent discovery that the famously-ringed planet is undergoing change. "For thousands of years, maybe even longer, Saturn has stood in space, unchallenged by man," began STROS spokesperson Adrianna Rhome, "But now it faces a crisis. Will we continue to send probes through its majestic rings, destroying them? Or will we stand up and defend that which cannot defend itself? STROS members respect our neighbor planets and demand that Earth no longer treat it like a simple lab experiment!"

"Man is making drastic changes in poorly-understood systems!"
-- STROS spokesperson Adrianna Rhome
The group's web site ( points out that Saturn's rings are dimmer now than they were a mere 25 years ago. They place the blame for these changes on the Voyager probe from 1981 and the more recent Cassini spacecraft. "These probes -- while well-intentioned -- are disturbing the natural development of the rings," the site says, "We can not afford as a species to allow ourselves to make such drastic changes in poorly-understood systems."

NASA officials vehemently denied that the probes are responsible for the changes. "It's true that the rings are changing," said Cassini project manager Hiram Spilker, "But this is a natural process. The particles that make up the rings have been falling into Saturn, spinning away from Saturn, being captured by comets and asteroids flying by Saturn, for hundreds of millions of years. There's nothing new going on here, certainly nothing man-made."

Another NASA official put it this way: "You must understand that the rings contain a volume of material that would form a ball 75 miles in diameter and they are spread over an area 200 times the surface area of the Earth. No matter what we choose to throw at the rings, nothing we do can possibly affect it in the slightest way."

"It's easy to say 'There's no problem, we're not hurting anything'," responded Rhome, "Until one day we look up in the sky and the rings are gone. STROS doesn't intend to let that happen."

Unfortunately for the group, contributions have been light. Unless they can raise enough funds, they will not be able to maintain their web site. "If this matter is of any cosmic importance -- and I assure you that it is -- the funding will come in one way or another," assured Rhome, "The Universe will see to it that the web site continues."
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