Scientists Urge NASA to Explore Uranus

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  12 comments

By:   Evann Gastaldo (Newser)

Scientists Urge NASA to Explore Uranus
An influential panel of scientists says NASA should put exploration of Uranus at the top of its to-do list. The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS)...

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It tops the 'wish list' of an influential panel

By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Apr 20, 2022 2:34 AM CDT

CopiedUranus (Getty Images / buradaki)

(Newser) - An influential panel of scientists says NASA should put exploration of Uranus at the top of its to-do list. The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) made the recommendation in its report on "the next decade of planetary science and astrobiology." The only visit thus far to the seventh planet in the solar system occurred in 1986 when the Voyager-2 probe made a brief fly-by, the BBC reports. Now that objects sized similarly to Uranus are being discovered around other stars, scientists are hoping for a better understanding of the ice giant. "We think we understand how something gets as big as Jupiter, and we think we understand how something gets to be the size of Earth and Venus. But in the middle, in that kind of sweet spot between those end-members—we don't fully understand how a world can start to grow and grow and not just carry on to become Jupiter-mass in size," one expert explains. "A mission to Uranus could help us answer that." More:

  • NASA usually follows panel's guidance: The last such "planetary decadal survey," published in 2011, prioritized first Mars (the Perseverance rover is there currently), followed by Jupiter and its moon, Europa (a mission is planned for 2024). Back then, Uranus was third on the list. The agency uses the once-a-decade reports to make its case for funding before Congress, Science reports.
  • When might it happen? Scientists think the early 2030s, if engineers get started by next year, the Verge reports. A mission launched in 2031 would not arrive until the end of that decade.
  • Jokes abound: "No giggles. Absolutely no wisecracks," Marina Koren writes in the Atlantic's piece on why this is a big deal for Uranus. "Given our history of lowbrow humor with Uranus—which is pronounced Yoor-uh-nus, by the way—one might assume that we're pretty familiar with our cosmic neighbor," she writes. But actually, "Although we know more about the universe than ever before, we still don't understand one of the planets in our very own solar system."
  • Specifics: The scientists recommend studying how the planet, its 13 rings, and its 27 known moons formed and evolved; why it rotates at an extreme tilt, almost on its side; what drives its powerful winds; and how its complex magnetic field was developed, Nature and CNN report.
  • Second priority: Second on the "wish list" was a mission to Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, to look for microbes in an ocean thought to be under its icy crust, NPR reports. "Enceladus is probably the best place to look for evidence of life that we can do today," an expert says.

(Read more Uranus stories.)


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

Uranus Probe

9086257105265b92b6f59c81b0380cba--uranus-spaceships.jpg

That thing could do some serious damage. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago
"No giggles. Absolutely no wisecracks," Marina Koren writes in the Atlantic's piece on why this is a big deal for Uranus.

Sorry, Lady. Not after what JR just posted

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2  Vic Eldred    one month ago

Lol....Love that title.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

On a more realistic note, I dont agree with spending a ton of money to explore the planet Uranus.  Spend the money here at home. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago
Spend the money here at home. 

About 129% of GDP so far.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
4  Greg Jones    one month ago

Why not? They made it to Pluto, then flew by Ultima Thule, the most distant object yet viewed!

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
5  Hal A. Lujah    one month ago

If they find undiscovered moons of Uranus, I think they should be called Urectum and Urcolon.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
5.1  SteevieGee  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @5    one month ago

Urectum?  Damn near killed him.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
6  Ender    one month ago

Just put a base on Mars already.

 
 
 
arkpdx
PhD Participates
7  arkpdx    one month ago

I wonder if they will find Klingons on Uranus

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
7.1  1stwarrior  replied to  arkpdx @7    one month ago

So, that's where the itch is coming from????

 
 
 
Freefaller
Professor Participates
7.2  Freefaller  replied to  arkpdx @7    one month ago

Unlikely as Uranus is a gas giant

 
 

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