NASA is looking at the possibility of exploring the planets of Uranus and Neptune in order to sample their gasses and other elements to get a better feel for how they fit into our solar system.
Every 10 years, NASA releases a report called the decadal survey outlining top priorities for planetary exploration.
They outlined four possible missions to the ice giants Uranus and Neptune – including three orbiters and a possible fly-by of Uranus.
“The preferred mission is an orbiter with an atmospheric probe to either Uranus or Neptune – this provides the highest science value, and allows in depth study of all aspects of either planet’s system: rings, satellites, atmosphere, magnetosphere,’ says Amy Simon, co-chair of the Ice Giants Pre-Decadal Study group.”
NASA hopes the Uranus mission will launch before 2034, after which the alignment of the planets make the mission much harder as it would be using Jupiter’s gravity as a pull.
The idea of the mission is to determine what the planets are made of, get an idea of the atmospheric composition, and take lots of fantastic photographs, too. Researchers hope to study the weather and overall climate of the planets, while determining how they fit into the overall makeup of our Solar System.