Uranus is a mysterious, lonely world, and what little we know about it stems from the close pass of the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1986. The spacecraft took thousands of pictures of the planet, revealing an ice giant clouded with strange rings and moons. “The Uranus system is one of the great blank spaces left on our map,” says Francis Nimmo, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which is why he is considering a mission there.
Important problems to Uranus
Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a 10-year study calling for NASA to send its next mission to Uranus. The idea was to launch a probe into the orbit of the planet with a rover that would dive into the atmosphere for closer studies with special attention to the moons, which could be hiding underground oceans.
The problem with this task is that it must be completed within a decade, during which time the world is still fully illuminated by the Sun due to the equinox. After that, many of its regions would return to darkness.
Other interesting facts that we want to understand about Uranus refer to its position, specifically the fact that it flips on its side. because? Most likely, a devastating collision with another celestial body partially tilted it.
“Because Uranus is so much more difficult to study from our terrestrial vantage point, we have to use our entire arsenal to try to describe the environment before our large, expensive and unique spacecraft arrive,” Fletcher, a planetary scientist, told me. University of Leicester.
At the moment, a budget for a mission of this kind is very difficult for NASA, which is already full of commitments and active missions in space, but it cannot be ruled out that in those fateful 10 years we can discover more about this planet, and finally see it up close.