Sending a probe to Uranus labeled as top priority by space science community

The planet Uranus, seen from Voyager 2. | Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The space science community thinks the time is ripe to study Uranus in depth — and they’re being serious. A new report compiled by planetary scientists from across the United States says that sending an interplanetary probe to study the ice giant planet should be considered the top priority for planetary exploration over the next decade.

Specifically, scientists are calling on NASA to create the Uranus Orbiter and Probe, or UOP. The mission concept would send a spacecraft into orbit around Uranus, along with a probe that would plunge into the planet’s atmosphere. Scientists envision such a mission launching sometime in the early 2030s as long as engineers get started on it as soon as next year.

If it works, the UOP mission could provide…

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Author: Loren Grush