SUMMARY: Cassini has discovered oxygen ions in the atmosphere around Saturn's rings, suggesting that life isn't the only process that could produce it. Molecular oxygen, aka O2, is produced here on Earth as a byproduct of plant respiration - animals like us need it to survive. It was previously thought that O2 is so volatile that it needs the presence of life to occur in a planet's atmosphere. But on Saturn, this oxygen is generated and maintained by a reaction of the Sun's radiation and the icy particles in Saturn's rings.
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