Beyond the Red Planet Mars and the colossal gas giant Jupiter, one of the most iconic worlds within our solar system can be found which is Saturn. Saturn is probably the second most recognizable planet after Earth because of it’s magnificent rings and although the other gas giants possess ring systems none could match the size nor the beauty of Saturn’s ring system.
Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system and is often compared to Jupiter due to their similar atmospheric compositions which is mostly hydrogen and helium, over the years this gas giant has been visited by various missions but most recently by the Cassini spacecraft that orbited the ringed world 294 times sending back data for 13 years before finally plunging directly into Saturn’s thick clouds back in September 2017.
Because of the valuable information gathered by Cassini and other spacecrafts, scientists have a greater understanding of Saturn’s internal structure and composition, so let’s jump into our science fiction spacesuits and dive directly into Saturn to see what might lurk deep below the gas giant’s mysterious cloud tops. Surviving into Saturn would be impossible for any human being so let’s assume we have been equipped with special science fiction spacesuits that would take us all the way to the planet’s core.
As we fall towards Saturn, we would get incredible view pf planet’s magnificent ring system that is made up of billions of tiny ice and rock particles along with large scattered boulders, we would initially be descending at a similar speeds to if we are falling towards Earth as Saturn’s gravity is only 7% greater than the gravity on our planet, we would soon fall through the bright white clouds of ammonia crystals where the temperatures would be around -130 degree celsius with a pressure of about 1 atmosphere which is the atmospheric pressure at sea level on Earth.
Eventually we would reach the bottom of ammonia clouds and enter into the second layer, dark brown ammonium hydrosulphide and ammonium sulphide clouds, here we would experience pressures of between 2 to 4 atmospheres and temperature of around -100 degree celsius, as we fall deeper through this layer, we would start to notice our surroundings are becoming darker as the sunlight cannot penetrate to this depth but let’s say by using our special science fiction space helmet we can now see what is around us, violent winds would be whipping past us with speeds of up to 1100 miles per hour as Saturn experiences some of the fastest winds ever detected in the solar system, without special suits we would be ripped apart.
After falling for about 140 miles, we have finally reached the bottom of this hellish layer and now we are entering the region of towering dark water ice clouds, static electricity would generate huge arcs of lightning that could be seen all around us as we keep descending through these terrifying clouds, at this stage the pressure would have risen to about 10 atmospheres but would also be rapidly increasing, over 2 hours into our journey and we would have fallen roughly 250 miles into Saturn.
Now the strange environment that we find ourselves in starting to become really extreme with the temperatures drastically increasing around 100 degree celsius as we slowly enter into an area where hydrogen and helium are liquefying under immense pressure, the atmosphere around us would become much thicker eventually slowing our descend as the our density equals out with the environment but because our suit is extremely high tech it allows us to continue so that we can see what lies beneath.
After sinking for many hours, we would be roughly 20,000 miles inside of Saturn and we would have reached to the region of metallic hydrogen at a pressures of up to 2 million atmospheres, here temperatures would increase to around 9000 degree celsius causing our surrounding environment to glow white hot, this magnificent ocean of metallic hydrogen is what generates Saturn’s huge magnetic field.
Possibly after weeks of sinking we would have traveled around 35,000 miles into Saturn when suddenly we hit the planet’s core, a surface of compressed rock, iron and exotic ices that could possibly be about twice the size of Earth, at this stage we would have completed our mission and the adventure would come to an end, we would be stranded alone and unable to escape with our suit having to withstand colossal temperatures of above 12,000 degree celsius and immense pressures of about 10 million atmospheres.