(second largest planet in the solar system)
Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system
and the fifth planet counting outward from the Sun.
It is known for having a ring system: flat, visible rings of material
around it, within the plane of its equator. (Similar but lesser
ring systems have been detected around other solar system planets
now that space probes have viewed them from nearby. )
To some extent, Saturn's ring system has served as a
physical example of an astrophysical disk, close enough for
detailed study. Among Saturn's 80+ known moons are Titan,
Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Iapetus, and
Characteristics of Saturn:
Space missions to Saturn have included
Its distance from Earth limits the number of such missions.
The Cassini mission was long and extensive and vastly increased our
knowledge about Saturn and its moons, and revealed Enceladus
to be a prime candidate for extraterrestrial life.
Plans developed for possible future Saturn-system missions include
Dragonfly and Enceladus Life Finder.
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Referenced by pages:
Enceladus Life Finder (ELF)
equilibrium temperature (Teq)
moment of inertia factor
pulsar timing array (PTA)
supercritical fluid (SCF)
spiral density wave
TiNy Titans (TNT)