• Question: Since we cant land on Saturn as its a gas would it be possible to land on its ice particle ring?

    Asked by Sharon.AD to Chris, Joanne, Kathryn, Kieran, Sarah on 10 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Chris Werner

      Chris Werner answered on 10 Nov 2017:

      Good question Sharon, and the answer is not really, as the particles range in size from dust to houses, too small to land on, and the ring thickness in most places is less than 1km thick! It was tricky enough to get Cassini to thread a gap between Saturn and the innermost ring!

      However Cassini photos have shown that Saturn could produce moons from its rings, so there’s a chance of landing on those. Enceladus and Titan though would be of more interest to NASA than a suicide mission to land on than Saturn or its rings. Titan is like an early Earth in deep-freeze with methane rather than water and who knows what we could find at Enceladus, maybe life!

    • Photo: Sarah Guerin

      Sarah Guerin answered on 11 Nov 2017:

      Yes we couldn’t land a spaceship or anything of that magnitude, but maybe a very small device that could measure some useful properties of Saturn’s. We would need to improve our control over devices in space, and like Chris said we would need to land on a specific ice particle of suitable size which would be very difficult- keep the creative ideas coming!