Objective Uranus: why American scientists dream of exploring the icy giant


DECRYPTION – In their ten-year roadmap, American planetary scientists invite NASA to launch a large-scale mission to this distant planet.

The next major US space exploration missions are already known. The “Mars Sample Return” program provides for the return to Earth of Martian samples by 2035 (being prepared by the Perseverance rover, they will be recovered later by another mission). The Artemis program, whose first flight – without passengers – is scheduled for this year, should make it possible to send astronauts to the Moon again before 2030, and to include the United States and its partners (including Europe) in a sustainable manned exploration of our satellite. The automatic Europa Clipper mission is finally due to take off in 2024 to explore Europa, a frozen moon of Jupiter that harbors a vast ocean below its surface.

But then? What’s the next step? American scientists have decided: for them, the next priority target is Uranus, they explain in their “ten-year strategy for planetary sciences and astrobiology” published this week. This…

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