Earth shares the solar system with many fantastically mesmerizing planets. Two of those planets are Saturn and Mars. Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun, between Jupiter and Uranus, whereas Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, between Earth and Jupiter. But it’s not just their names and their distance from the sun that are the only differences between these two amazing planets. That’s not to say they don’t share some similarities, either. So, today, we’re going to explore all of those fascinating differences between Saturn and Mars, but we’ll also look at what they have in common as well.
So, what are the main differences between Saturn vs. Mars? Saturn and Mars differ in size, chemical composition, and surface temperature. Saturn is larger and a gas giant, while Mars is smaller and a terrestrial planet. Mars has a warmer surface, but Saturn has a higher core temperature. There are also other differences between the two planets.
In fact, their different distances from the sun is one of the main factors that determine why these planets are so unique from one another.
As we shall see in the next section!
What Are The Differences Between Saturn And Mars?
Saturn and Mars are starkly different from one another when it comes to size, density, orbit, chemical composition, temperature, number of moons, number of rings, axle tilt, and their aesthetics.
So, it would seem that there is much to be said when discussing the differences between Saturn and Mars.
But that was obvious from the start; no two planets are the same.
So let’s explore the key differences between Saturn and Mars.
Size and Mass
The size of the planets in our solar system are vastly different from one another.
The same is the case when comparing Saturn and Mars. Saturn is vastly bigger than Mars is.
Saturn has a diameter of 116,460km. In contrast, Mars has a diameter of a mere 6,779km. A huge difference, isn’t it?
Saturn has a surface area of 42.7 billion square kilometers, whereas Mars has a surface area of 144.8 million square kilometers.
The same is true in regards to mass. Saturn has a whopping mass of 5.683 × 10^26 kg compared to Mars’ mere 6.39 × 10^23 kg. This might be confusing, as you may see Mars’s 6.39 as clearly bigger than Saturn’s 5.683. The key figure is Saturn’s 10^26 compared to Mars’s 10^23. This is a clear indication that Saturn is the heavier planet.
These figures mean that Saturn is the second biggest planet in our solar system, only smaller than Jupiter. While Mars sits at seventh in the size league table, meaning it is only bigger than little old Mercury.
Mars is much denser than Saturn. Mars has a density of 3.93 g/cm³, whereas Saturn has a density of 0.687 g/cm³.
Orbit of the Sun
As previously mentioned, Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun, whereas Mars is the fourth planet from the sun.
Now, distance from the sun has a huge impact when it comes to orbit.
As Mars is much closer to the sun, it naturally takes a lot less time for it to orbit it. Mars takes about 687 days to orbit the sun.
Saturn is considerably further away from the sun.
So, as a result, it takes the planet a humongous 29.4 years to orbit the sun. Yes, that’s justjust for one orbit around the sun.
There are various different types of planets. Though, the two most common types are gas planets and terrestrial planets.
This is where Saturn and Mars differ again.
Saturn is a gas giant, but Mars is a terrestrial planet.
But what do these different titles mean?
Well, a gas planet/giant is a planet composed of gasses, primarily hydrogen and helium.
A terrestrial planet, on the other hand, is a type of planet (that also goes by the name of a telluric planet or, more descriptively, a rocky planet).
That’s because, as you probably guessed again, it’s a planet composed mostly of rocks (or metals).
Mars is specifically composed of predominantly iron, nickel, and sulfur.
Mars is joined in the terrestrial planet category by Mercury, Earth, and Venus!
This is where things get interesting. Because, in one aspect, Mars is much hotter than Saturn. But from another, the opposite is true. Confusing, right?
Well, be confused no more. Mars is hotter than Saturn when it comes to surface temperature.
Mars’ surface temperature is approximately -88 degrees Fahrenheit (-67 degrees Celsius), whereas Saturn’s surface temperature is approximately -138 degrees Fahrenheit (-94 degrees Celsius)
How is this so? Well, the most obvious explanation would be the factor of distance from the sun.
Mars is relatively close to the sun, resulting in its surface being kept warm by it.
In comparison, Saturn is much further away from the sn, located in a part of the solar system where it’s much colder.
But over to core temperature. The reverse is true. Saturn has a considerably warmer core temeprature.
This is due to the fact that Saturn is a gas giant, meaning that is produces more of its own heat from its core. This is of course, not true of Mars.
Saturn has a core temperature of approximately 21,092 degrees Fahrenheit (11,700 degrees Celsius), whereas Mars has a core temperature of approximately 2,492 degrees Fahrenheit (1,350 degrees Celsius)
Number of Moons
Saturn has 82 moons.
Mars, however, only has 2 moons. But that’s still 1 more moon than Earth.
Saturn has 7 rings, which mainly consist of asteroids, comets, and even shattered moons.
Mars? Mars has nothing to show in the rings department. Zero rings to be seen here.
Axel Tilt and Rotation
Not all planets tilt on the same axle. And Saturn and Mars are such examples.
Mars has an axial tilt of 25 degrees, whereas Saturn’s is about 27 degrees.
Again, this results in another difference; how long it takes for each planet to rotate around its axis.
Mars takes 24 hours to complete one rotation of its axis. This is quite a similar figure to that of Earth.
Saturn, on the other hand, takes only 10 hours and 34 minutes to complete one rotation.
Most of the factors discussed above cause these planets to look very different.
Saturn appears with a pale yellow color.
Mars is red!
What Are The Similarities Between Saturn And Mars?
Saturn and Mars share orbit patterns and shape, the fact that they have hotter cores than surfaces, they both have multiple moons, both have a gravitational relationship with the universe, they both cannot support human life, and they have not been visited with humankind.
It’s not all different, though, even though it may seem that there’s quite a lot to split the two here.
In all honest truth, these planets are more different from each other than they are similar. But then again, the same is true for most planets.
With that being said, there are some key similarities between Saturn and Mars. So let’s go through them now!
As we learned above, it takes Saturn a lot more time to orbit the sun than it does Mars.
However, the pattern that these planets’ orbit of the sun remains the same.
Both Mars and Saturn have circular orbits of the sun.
Both Have a Hotter Central Core
Saturn has a hotter core than Mars’. Alternatively, Mars has a hotter surface area than Saturn, only just though.
But what both these planets share when it comes to temperature is the fact that their cores are much warmer than their surface areas.
Both Are Spherical In Shape
Although there are vast differences between the two when it comes to size, mass, and density, both Saturn and Mars are spherical in shape.
Both Have Multiple Moons
Yes, they both don’t just share the fact that they have moons, but they also share the fact that they have multiple moons.
Having said that, Mars only just has multiple moons, as it has a grand total of two, which is quite a small figure when you compare it to Saturn’s total moon count of eighty-two!
Both planets provide a gravitational pull force that interacts with the rest of the universe.
For Saturn, its gravitational pull ensures that its 82 moons and 7 rings continue to orbit it within close proximity.
As for Mars, its gravitational force also keeps its 2 moons within its orbit.
Can’t Support Human Life
There are various reasons why humans can’t live on these two planets.
The two key ones are that there isn’t oxygen on either of them, nor could our bodies withstand the hostile temperatures.
So both Saturn and Mars cannot support and host human life.
Humans Haven’t Visited
We are yet to be able to travel to either Saturn or Mars, so we are obviously yet to visit it. Although, Mars doesn’t look too far off in the relatively near future.
Any human that did visit either of these planets would require the right equipment to ensure their safety and survival. Even then, there would still be a dangerous risk involved with visiting either of these two planets.
There isn’t life on Mars. Nor is there life on Saturn. This they have in common.
But when comparing these two planets, it turns out that they are certainly more different than they are similar!
Other planetary comparisons you may want to see:
- Saturn vs Earth [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Saturn vs Uranus [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Saturn vs Venus [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Saturn vs Neptune [How Do The Planets Differ]
- Saturn vs Jupiter [How Do The Planets Differ?]
Hey, my name is Jeremy. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.