Cassini Saturns rings
According to Larry Esposito of the University of Colorado at Boulder, ice in the inner regions of the spectacular ring system are filled with mud-like "gunk".
Dr Esposito - team-leader for the Cassini mission's US$12.5 million ($17.3million) Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) instrument - said the dirt appears red in the images while the denser icy outer rings look turquoise.
It's not yet clear just what makes up the gunk, however Dr Esposito told SPACE.com the building blocks were probably silicates and organic material, the same components of earthly rocks and dirt.
The difference in the composition of the rings supports a theory held by scientists such as Dr Esposito that a frozen object from the outer solar system was pulled into the system and broken apart under the gravitational pull of Saturn and its 31 moons.
As well, the so-called "ultraviolet signature" of the ruddy ring material is suggestively similar to that of Saturn's moon Phoebe.
"Whatever coloured Phoebe may also have been a part of the rings or may have fallen on the rings," speculated Dr Esposito.
"But, of course, we don't know what Phoebe is made of."
Dr Esposito's colleague at the university's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Joshua Colwell, created the colour-enhanced images.
Dr Colwell used spectra captured by the UVIS on July 1.
That's when Cassini entered orbit around Saturn after its seven-year journey to the ringed planet.