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Planet Saturn - Essay Example

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According to our current knowledge, the gas giant Saturn would need to change drastically in order to have even the slightest chance of supporting life. Modifications would have to take place in several aspects, some of which we will discuss.
The interior core of Saturn is a…
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Planet Saturn
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Planet Saturn and Life Support Here s Here Planet Saturn and Life Support According to our current knowledge, the gas giant Saturn would need to change drastically in order to have even the slightest chance of supporting life. Modifications would have to take place in several aspects, some of which we will discuss.
The interior core of Saturn is a dense rocky core surrounded by a thick liquid hydrogen layer that is covered by another liquid layer of mixed hydrogen and helium that dissipates to the gaseous outer layer (Saumon, Hubbard, and Lunine, 1992). In order to support life, Saturn would have to be stripped of its gaseous and liquid layers. Atmosphere is also important, and the stripped away gaseous outer layer would need to be replaced with an oxygen rich atmosphere to be capable of supporting life. The atmosphere is not only for breathing however. It also serves as a protective shield from dangerous energy, and thusly the new atmosphere of Saturn would have to have the same property. Saturn currently has no water, and could not sustain liquid water due to its extremely hot core and the resulting surface temperature of, which would have to be lowered for life to survive in the first place. This planet is too far away to be in the “habitable zone” where the sun could support life (Jones, Sleep, & Underwood, 2006). A reduced orbit would accompany a shortened distance from the sun and would match well with the plane of the Earth (producing similar seasons). The density of Saturn’s core would somehow need to be lessened so that life would not be crushed by its gravity. This gravity would also interfere with other planets if Saturn were closer to the sun, leading to a whole new array of problems regarding ideal location. Additionally, the magnetic field of Saturn (slightly weaker than Earth’s) would not be strong enough to produce a magnetosphere capable of protecting the planet’s life.
These are only a few examples of the changes that would need to occur for Saturn to be habitable, but they clearly demonstrate some main barriers to the survival of life on this planet.
References
Jones, B. W., Sleep, N. P., & Underwood, D. R. (2006). Habitability of known exoplanetary systems based on measured stellar properties. The Astrophysical Journal, 649(2), 1010- 1019.
Saumon, D., Hubbard, W. B., & Lunine, J. I. (1992). The molecular-metallic transition of hydrogen and the structure of Jupiter and Saturn. The Astrophysical Journal, 391, 817- 826. Read More
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