This page argues that Saturn's density tells scientists that it has a liquid metal core with maybe some rocky chunks:

The core region of Saturn may never be directly observed. Neither has the Earth’s. Despite that, scientists are fairly certain that, while Saturn has a core, it is not a solid mass of rock or metal, but a liquid metallic mixture similar to all of the gas giants.

Some, not all, Google image diagrams show a solid layer of ice around the cores of our gas giants:

Solid over liquidOnly gas over liquid

And this QA implies that that core would be completely covered by solid diamonds.

So, would there be anything solid to land on from the air inside Saturn, and what would that be?

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    $\begingroup$ Where does the thread you link to imply there's a core covered by solid diamonds? The theory about diamond precipitates (diamond rain in lay terms) suggests a dynamic process where at certain depth the pressure and temperature are sufficient for covalent bonds to form between carbon atoms. It also goes on to discuss that even those bonds aren't strong enough as they sink deeper and pressure further increases and that results in a carbon goo similar to tar. There's nothing like a solid surface on gas giants. Uranus and Neptune yes, to an extent with liberal definition, but they're ice giants. $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Mar 1, 2015 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ If it helps add a perspective, see What will be the effect if we stand on Jupiter? Different gas giant tho. $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Mar 1, 2015 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ The word 'ice' is not necessarily water ice; it may well be hydrocarbon ice/s. $\endgroup$
    – Everyone
    Mar 1, 2015 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Everyone Indeed, any volatiles with melting points above about 100 K are referred to as ices in planetary science. $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Mar 1, 2015 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @TidalWave I hadn't read the part about the diamonds being destroyed on the way down. $\endgroup$ Mar 1, 2015 at 14:02

2 Answers 2


No. The surface of Saturn is not solid. Saturn is too hot to support solid ice, and not just because of solar radiation:

Also like Jupiter, Saturn gives off almost twice as much energy as it receives from the Sun, because it has its own internal heat source, powered by the slow gravitational collapse that started when the planet first formed.

Given that Uranus and Neptune have an ice mantle, Saturn's sheer size and accretion must have extended the process.

Jupiter and Saturn have no ice mantle

Any solid ice present on Saturn is high up in the atmosphere or deep beneath dense liquid gas along with the other solids. Any diamonds created by atmospheric pressure would eventually melt into a liquid sea in the planet's hot core.

Shock wave experiment provides the best look yet at 'Warm dense matter' at cores of giant planets

  • $\begingroup$ "The surface of Saturn is liquid." Is this true? Is there a well defined surface, an interface between gas and liquid? Or is it a continuous gradient in density with no clear boundary? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 27, 2017 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh As commented, the transition from gas to solid is the called the Frenkel line, not the Frenkel gradient. Above that is probably supercritical fluid, which is a gradient from gassy liquid (bottom) to liquidy gas (top). $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2017 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I missed the comment (it was hidden). But that's not what the Wikipedia article says at all. It does not say "where gas turns to liquid". Instead it describes a variety of alternative possible theoretical definitions, applied to theoretical models, and seem to be arbitrary thresholds applied specifically to smoothly varying parameters. A real gas to liquid transition takes place over deep sub-micron distances. These are smooth, gradual transitions, and the "line" is a mathematical construct. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 27, 2017 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ Not only a construct, but there isn't even one single, universally accepted way to define it: "There exist several approximate criteria to locate the Frenkel line on the pressure-temperature plane." $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 28, 2017 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ Further, while another Wikipedia article about Saturn mentions the Frenkel line, its only in the introduction but not in the body, and the citation for that sentence (16) is from the Astrophysical Spectator a personal blog, not a peer reviewed journal. But neither that page, nor the entire blog contain "Frenkel" anywhere, so it's really unsupported.. Can you find some reliable scientific source to support "The surface of Saturn is liquid."? I don't think Saturn has a surface at all. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 28, 2017 at 0:09

It is worth emphasizing what was mentioned in the comments to another question - all the outer planets have atmospheres that gradually transition from gas to supercritical fluid. There is no ocean of liquid hydrogen on Saturn that you could float a boat on. It just gets denser and denser and hotter and hotter until your space probe is crushed or melted, whichever comes first.

And the layers of ice aren't frozen either. Basically the term "ice" refers to anything that would be frozen if it were on the surface of an outer-planet moon.


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