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This is an image of Saturn.
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NASA/JPL

The Environment of Saturn

Saturn's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +80 degrees. With winds like these, it is hard to have peace and quiet.

The region where it is 80 degrees sounds pretty friendly, but where the temperature is 80 degrees, the pressure is about the same as it would be if you were a couple miles below the sea on Earth!

In the atmosphere there are at least three known cloud decks of ammonia, ammonia hydrosulfide, and water, with perhaps sizable condensed droplets. Moreover there is energy from lightning, ultraviolet light, and charged particles.

Saturn's interior possesses an environment of pressures as great as three million times the sea-level pressure on earth, and temperatures as high as 10,000 degrees.

Overall, this environment sounds very unfriendly to life as we know it on earth.

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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!

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