Author Topic: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune  (Read 180893 times)

Offline redliox

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #540 on: 03/05/2017 12:47 AM »
Update on Ice Giants finally: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/meetings/feb2017/presentations/Hofstadter.pdf

There seems to be 2 big consensus points that paper seems to imply:
1) Studying the interior and overall composition (persumably of either Ice Giant) is the priority science
2) Uranus orbiter with probe seems to be favored now
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Online RotoSequence

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #541 on: 03/05/2017 03:20 AM »
I wonder, would it be possible to use SLS to launch orbiters with atmospheric probes to both Uranus and Neptune? Orbiters around both worlds would be fantastic.

Offline redliox

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #542 on: 03/05/2017 03:27 AM »
I wonder, would it be possible to use SLS to launch orbiters with atmospheric probes to both Uranus and Neptune? Orbiters around both worlds would be fantastic.

This should answer your question regarding SLS....
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Online RotoSequence

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #543 on: 03/05/2017 05:46 AM »
I wonder, would it be possible to use SLS to launch orbiters with atmospheric probes to both Uranus and Neptune? Orbiters around both worlds would be fantastic.

This should answer your question regarding SLS....

I'm not sure how I missed that in the linked presentation. D'oh. Thanks!

Offline Archibald

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #544 on: 03/05/2017 07:33 AM »
I wonder if it would be possible to send an orbiter to Neptune first, then slingshot it around Triton to send it back to Uranus ? The reverse (Uranus to Neptune) not feasible per lack of a big Uranus satellite...
Use SLS enormous power to give the orbiter enough fuel to insert around Uranus after Neptune.

SLS to Neptune, Triton slingshot, back to Uranus.
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Star One

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #545 on: 03/05/2017 09:01 AM »
Do these kind of studies always now come with an advantage of using SLS attachment?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #546 on: 03/05/2017 11:13 AM »
Do these kind of studies always now come with an advantage of using SLS attachment?

For outer planets studies, it adds substantial capability. Nobody has proposed it for robotic Mars missions (yet).

About a decade ago there was a ridiculous proposal for using an Ares V for Mars science exploration. It was called CEMMENT, which is a pretty bad name for a space mission. The premise was that the human spaceflight program would need to prove their Mars lander robotically, so if you could fill it up, what should go inside? The result was crazy, as they included what would have added up to many billions of dollars of scientific equipment.

Additional thought: if you start with the assumption that you're getting a free ride on a big vehicle that might not work, you should not spend a lot of money on the payload. So the logical thing to do in that circumstance would be to find a way to put some things on Mars that might not be too costly. I don't know what they would be, but maybe there are ideas out there.
« Last Edit: 03/05/2017 12:12 PM by Blackstar »

Offline as58

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #547 on: 03/05/2017 01:10 PM »
It was called CEMMENT, which is a pretty bad name for a space mission.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a mission named after something concrete after all these abstract concepts like curiosity and opportunity?

Offline redliox

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #548 on: 03/06/2017 04:07 AM »
While an orbiter/probe for Uranus seems the main route, there may be possibilities for a fly-by coupled with a Kuiper object according to another presentation via the OPAG: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/meetings/feb2017/presentations/Zangari.pdf

These slides show the alignments, and the probable trajectories, a flyby mission could undertake during the ~next quarter-century.  Jupiter alone could probably fling a probe to most objects, but an alignment with one of the other gas giants enhances the ability to tweak the trajectory...

I wonder if it would be possible to send an orbiter to Neptune first, then slingshot it around Triton to send it back to Uranus ? The reverse (Uranus to Neptune) not feasible per lack of a big Uranus satellite...
Use SLS enormous power to give the orbiter enough fuel to insert around Uranus after Neptune.

...but not nearly THAT much, SLS or not  :o

Neptune could send a probe to any of six objects, the largest being Eris itself (so long as you're willing to wait to reach it).  Uranus is sparser with only three, Varuna the major one.  A route via Saturn would be as rich as Neptune, and includes the 2 next most massive dwarfs, Haumea and  Makemake.  This raises a large number of possibilities, all of which depend on the would-be-mission's priorities.  For instance....

If the priority is the Kuiper object, either Saturn or Neptune are your best options because either can give you access to the more prominent bodies; Eris would be awesome to see although it'd probably be a tertiary choice since the next-largest-bodies, including the multi-mooned and uniquely-shaped Haumea, are far more accessible in a quicker time scale.

If the priority is Neptune, you get a great chance for fresh science and, thanks to Neptune's position at the edge with less interference from the Sun's gravity well, a wide range to redirect the probe afterwards.  Studying Triton against Pluto or the Kuiper belt would be great for comparison.  Not as much science as an orbiter naturally, but you get a chance to study both the planet and bodies it affected during its evolution.

If the priority is Uranus or Saturn, there isn't quite as much useful science you could do as compared to the first two.  The best chance would be to drop off a Saturn probe, using the Kuiper probe as the carrier.  Saturn's main gain would be gaining knowledge about its atmosphere and accessing a great selection of dwarfs, whereas Uranus is likewise its atmosphere, structure, and mapping more of its moons.

Between this and the study summary from Amy Simon and Mark Hofstadter, I'd definitely cross Uranus off the fly-by list and only reserve that as a Neptune option.  It is a bonus learning that missions to both Neptune and Saturn could vastly increase our knowledge of the Kuiper Belt as much as New Horizons; I'd definitely like to see the would-be-carrier of a Saturn probe (like ESA's proposed Hera for instance) have an option to fly-by say Haumea afterwards.
« Last Edit: 03/06/2017 04:09 AM by redliox »
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #549 on: 03/06/2017 09:48 AM »
Additional thought: if you start with the assumption that you're getting a free ride on a big vehicle that might not work, you should not spend a lot of money on the payload. So the logical thing to do in that circumstance would be to find a way to put some things on Mars that might not be too costly. I don't know what they would be, but maybe there are ideas out there.
Hydrazine and insulation isn't too costly, for a brute force sample return. But that's veering off topic here
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Offline redliox

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #550 on: 03/06/2017 07:58 PM »
Do these kind of studies always now come with an advantage of using SLS attachment?

For outer planets studies, it adds substantial capability. Nobody has proposed it for robotic Mars missions (yet).

About a decade ago there was a ridiculous proposal for using an Ares V for Mars science exploration. It was called CEMMENT, which is a pretty bad name for a space mission. The premise was that the human spaceflight program would need to prove their Mars lander robotically, so if you could fill it up, what should go inside? The result was crazy, as they included what would have added up to many billions of dollars of scientific equipment.

Additional thought: if you start with the assumption that you're getting a free ride on a big vehicle that might not work, you should not spend a lot of money on the payload. So the logical thing to do in that circumstance would be to find a way to put some things on Mars that might not be too costly. I don't know what they would be, but maybe there are ideas out there.

Outside of a direct and slightly speedier route to Jupiter, the main advantage I see in using SLS for the ice giants would be a dual-probe option, as in 2 probes (be they orbiter or flyby) launching together.  Obviously Europa Clipper is mandated to use it, but I have a feeling SLS' needs for human spaceflight may limit its applications.  Still if any missions benefit from using it, it's anything in the outer solar system.

Some of the recent presentations further mention using a Delta-IV for a mission; likewise I'd assume a Falcon 9 or FH could be useful.  I'd assume, even with the larger side of a medium-class launcher like Delta-IV, at least one gravity assist would be expected from the inner planets.

So it's not an entire surprise that they finally concluded Uranus to be the best option for the immediate future; less of a propulsion pain.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline Star One

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #551 on: 03/06/2017 08:02 PM »
Do these kind of studies always now come with an advantage of using SLS attachment?

For outer planets studies, it adds substantial capability. Nobody has proposed it for robotic Mars missions (yet).

About a decade ago there was a ridiculous proposal for using an Ares V for Mars science exploration. It was called CEMMENT, which is a pretty bad name for a space mission. The premise was that the human spaceflight program would need to prove their Mars lander robotically, so if you could fill it up, what should go inside? The result was crazy, as they included what would have added up to many billions of dollars of scientific equipment.

Additional thought: if you start with the assumption that you're getting a free ride on a big vehicle that might not work, you should not spend a lot of money on the payload. So the logical thing to do in that circumstance would be to find a way to put some things on Mars that might not be too costly. I don't know what they would be, but maybe there are ideas out there.

Outside of a direct and slightly speedier route to Jupiter, the main advantage I see in using SLS for the ice giants would be a dual-probe option, as in 2 probes (be they orbiter or flyby) launching together.  Obviously Europa Clipper is mandated to use it, but I have a feeling SLS' needs for human spaceflight may limit its applications.  Still if any missions benefit from using it, it's anything in the outer solar system.

Some of the recent presentations further mention using a Delta-IV for a mission; likewise I'd assume a Falcon 9 or FH could be useful.  I'd assume, even with the larger side of a medium-class launcher like Delta-IV, at least one gravity assist would be expected from the inner planets.

So it's not an entire surprise that they finally concluded Uranus to be the best option for the immediate future; less of a propulsion pain.

How would a maxed out Vulcan compare to the other options or is it not even worth considering here?

Offline redliox

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #552 on: 03/06/2017 10:01 PM »
How would a maxed out Vulcan compare to the other options or is it not even worth considering here?

Honestly unsure, although I'd assume at least equal to F9 even without solid assistance, but not on the level of Delta-IV which was the only booster called out in the studies aside from SLS and Atlas V.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #553 on: 03/30/2017 07:24 PM »

Offline redliox

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #554 on: 03/30/2017 09:52 PM »
Like the potential there Blackstar.  I hope this isn't a "Mariner Mark III" idea since we barely got Cassini out of "Mark II."
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #555 on: 03/31/2017 12:34 PM »
How would a maxed out Vulcan compare to the other options or is it not even worth considering here?

Honestly unsure, although I'd assume at least equal to F9 even without solid assistance, but not on the level of Delta-IV which was the only booster called out in the studies aside from SLS and Atlas V.
With distributed launch Vulcan can do about 8.6t to Jupiter. That is based on single tanker launch of 30t.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #556 on: 04/20/2017 03:49 PM »
Ice Giants presentation.

Offline redliox

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #557 on: 04/21/2017 03:58 AM »
Ice Giants presentation.

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.
« Last Edit: 04/21/2017 04:03 AM by redliox »
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #558 on: 04/21/2017 09:28 AM »
Ice Giants presentation.

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.

Probably the Uranus flyby is the cheap option for what happens if funding goes AWOL halfway during the final planning stages.

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.




Offline vjkane

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Re: Missions to the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune
« Reply #559 on: 04/21/2017 02:50 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.