Author Topic: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune  (Read 106828 times)

Offline vjkane

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #560 on: 04/21/2017 02:58 PM »
I thought the orbiter options were pretty interesting though.  A 13 year mission to Neptune launching in 2029, and a 12 year mission to Uranus launching in 2031 could see some pretty interesting comparative science being done - probably using the same team/ground resources.
Another interesting option would be to take advantage of the Saturn-Uranus trajectories that end in 2028.  A single spacecraft could deliver probes to both Saturn and Uranus and orbit the latter.  Unfortunately, to take advantage of this alignment, NASA would need to start pursuing the mission now.  I expect that the decision on which if any Uranus or Neptune missions to pursue will come from the  next Decadal Survey in 2021/2. 

A mission to Uranus or Neptune will be in competition with at least a Europa lander and a Mars sample return.

Offline redliox

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #561 on: 04/21/2017 03:11 PM »
Think this is the main take away: 3 orbiters, a flyby, and 3 atmospheric probes between the 4 options.  What surprises me the most is Uranus is being considered for the flyby in place of Neptune; I can only assume a cheaper cost was the main gain there.
It looks to me like they were bracketing the range of options rather than making some deeper point.

Possibly, but they have to make a decision on what to pursue sooner or later.  I see the merits of each option and no doubt this will be presented to the decadal survey which could be the lynch pin.

Another interesting option would be to take advantage of the Saturn-Uranus trajectories that end in 2028.  A single spacecraft could deliver probes to both Saturn and Uranus and orbit the latter.  Unfortunately, to take advantage of this alignment, NASA would need to start pursuing the mission now.  I expect that the decision on which if any Uranus or Neptune missions to pursue will come from the  next Decadal Survey in 2021/2. 

I'd love to see a Saturn flyby.  I wager, aside from pushing a Saturn probe, the only way to seriously push that option would be a wave of Cassini-nastalsia coupled with an eagerness to revisit Enceladus.
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