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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
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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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA