With the ambition to reach the Martian soil and the plans to make it possible to run smoothly, the US space agency is now considering larger flights. And also, much colder, or were not in question the so-called “cold giants”. Uranus and Neptune are still unspoken space destinations, but it seems NASA has outlined, at least on paper, the first few visits to these “ice planets”. These visits can begin in less than 20 years.
The international press said that the space agency has four missions in perspective, these include fluttering flights to record details of the surface of the planets, as well as the sending of atmospheric probes to collect samples so that it is possible to study the levels of gases and other elements.
These experiments will allow “an in-depth study of every aspect of each planet’s system: rings, satellites, atmosphere and magnetosphere”, said Emi Saymon, a senior scientist at the New Scientist quoted by the Ice Giants Pre-Decade research team.
Understanding how Uranus and Neptune formed will help explain how and why ice giants are so different from gaseous giants, such as Saturn.
But it will not be for now, first of all, this trip lasts at least 14 years, and in addition, it will need nuclear energy, since they are planets that are far removed from the Sun. Also add that the used plutonio-238 By NASA as fuel is scarce and, due to international agreements, its production has been virtually frozen until 2013.
So, with any luck, the launch window for a mission that would first have Uranus as its target could only happen in about 2034. Neptune, if there is nothing before 2030, only after 2040, thus taking advantage of the gravitational impulse that can be given by Jupiter, explain the researchers.