The mapping of our solar systems is a complex process involving mathematics and measurements of time. The vastness of our universe is truly amazing and scientists are continually discovering and learning about both the systems beyond our Milky Way and about the planets closest to home.
When researching our neighbor (three planets over), there are some interesting comparisons between Earth and Saturn. Calculating the distance between our two planets varies depending on the day – meaning the distance between them are in constant flux. This is due to the orbital path of the planets in relation to the sun. Simply put, Saturn is 1.2 billion km away from Earth at the closest orbital point, and 1.67 billion km away at the furthest point.
In terms of planet comparisons between Earth and Saturn, “the equatorial diameter of Saturn is 120,536 km; that’s about 9.5 times bigger than the diameter of the Earth. The surface area of Saturn is 83 times the area of Earth, and the volume is 764 times the volume of Earth. In other words, you could fit 764 planets the size of Earth inside Saturn. Finally, the mass of Saturn is 95 times the mass of the Earth.”
However, even with its massive size compared to our planet, Earth is far denser than Saturn – with Earth being a massive 8 times denser.
Saturn is not a planet that could support life; with its gaseous make up and inhabitable environment, scientists do not believe life could survive on this planet. However, scientists have discovered that one of Saturn’s 60 moons, Enceladus, has produced ice geysers. These ice geysers are a key discovery indicating that this moon has water and some ability to keep warm. With this finding, it is theorized that this moon may support some type of life or have the ability to have life exist on its surface.