Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system and you can easily spot it with a low-powered telescope. Sitting behind Jupiter, the sixth planet is made mostly of gas, helium specifically. And despite its size, it would actually float in a giant tub of water. Unfortunately, this also means that visiting Saturn is impossible for humans because there is no “surface” to land on. You’d simply sink deeper and deeper into the gas blankets that make up this planet.
Saturn has a lot of moons and they range from Mercury-sized ones to football field sized ones. Some are considered to be regular satellites in that they’re closer to Saturn. Other moons are considered irregular satellites and they’re further away from the planet. Their orbits are affected by the sun and many are small planets and debris that were later captured by Saturn. Two of these moons are of particular interest to scientists because of the possibility that they could or may contain some sort of life.
Titan is Saturn’s largest moon and it is very cold with a thick atmosphere. While there isn’t any water on its surface, there are plenty of hydrocarbon rivers and lakes on the surface. Hydrocarbons are oily and they’re also one of the essential molecules that make up our bodies. Maybe there isn’t Earth-like life on Titan, but who’s to say that there couldn’t be some other form of life that’s beyond our imaginations?
Enceladus is a small moon covered in ice. But underneath that icy crust is liquid water. Through cracks and fissures, this water will often erupt out with such force that it escapes Enceladus’ gravitational pull and is ejected into space. Scientists believe that these geysers are caused by hydrothermal vents deep underground. What’s even more interesting is that the water contains salt and relatively complex organic molecules. Like Titan, this isn’t necessarily proof that life exists on Enceladus, but it does raise the possibility that we’re not alone in the universe.
Keep Saturn with You
If you find Saturn and its moons intriguing and interesting, then here’s a chance to carry that curiosity with you everywhere. Our Saturn pieces also make great gifts for any budding astronomer. Know someone who loves to spend hours in front of a telescope imagining what life is like out in space? Our Saturn ring or necklace makes the perfect gift. Purchase one or both today for astronomy lovers, star gazers, astrobiologists, and starry-eyed space lovers.
written by Science with Evie