Scientists are excited to start determining Saturn’s exact age through findings from Sandia National Laboratory’s Z Machine. Saturn has puzzled researchers about its precise age because of its distinct behavior.
Other planets have known to cool with age, but Saturn cannot be linked to temperature because it is much hotter than scientists expect it to be.
Data has revealed that molecular hydrogen, which is found on Saturn’s surface, turns metallic under sufficient pressure. This in result breaks into a substance that can carry a current.
Saturn’s temperature can be explained by a long-ago theory that release of helium rain takes place after hydrogen metalizes and mixes with helium in a dense liquid, stated Mike Desjarlais of Sandia.
The helium rain present on Saturn can account for its high temperatures.
The prediction of helium rain is the only plausible explanation why Saturn in hotter than the calculation of planetary age, said Marcus Knudson of Sandia.
Thomas Mattson of Sandia says dense hydrogen can be metallic, meaning it could happen in coexistence of hydrogen and helium on the planet.
Mattson adds, “The mechanism of helium rain that has been proposed is therefore very plausible, given our results, but the scientific discussion will continue over the next few years in establishing a new consensus.”
Through the new data collected by Sandia’s Z Machine it has been possible for scientists to determine that the insulator molecular hydrogen becomes metallic due to enough pressure.