Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

The ice giants Uranus and Neptune are among the least studied planets in the solar system. They were visited only by the Voyager-2 apparatus in the second half of the 1980s. Behind the ice giants there is another region of the solar system, about which we know not so much. It's about the Kuiper belt - a cluster of ice bodies left after the formation of the solar system. It was also studied by only one earthly envoy - the New Horizons apparatus, which in 2015 completed the passage of Pluto.
Scientists have proposed a mission plan for ice giants and the Kuiper Belt mission, horizons ”, systems, span, Kuiper,“ New, apparatus, will, Solar, Uranus, allow, construction, billion, its, dollars, number, researchers, Stern, estimated, budget

Now NASA does not have any approved projects to send new missions to the farther reaches of the solar system. However, there are quite a few supporters in the scientific community actively lobbying for such an idea. Among them is the NASA research team, which includes the notorious Alan Stern - the head of the New Horizons mission. In their article recently posted on arxiv.org, the scientists proposed an interesting concept of a dual mission,which could simultaneously explore the ice giants and the Kuiper belt.
Scientists have proposed a mission plan for ice giants and the Kuiper Belt mission, horizons ”, systems, span, Kuiper,“ New, apparatus, will, Solar, Uranus, allow, construction, billion, its, dollars, number, researchers, Stern, estimated, budget

The plan involves the construction and dispatch of two vehicles. The first in its concept recalls the "New Horizons". The station will have to fly Uranus. She will study its magnetic field, photograph the main satellites and drop a descent probe into the atmosphere. Next, the device will go to the Kuiper belt and perform the flight of some large body. According to the estimates of the researchers, the gravitational maneuver in the vicinity of Uranus will allow directing the station to such objects as Orc and Varuna. If there is additional fuel to maneuver, the device can also be aimed at Sedna, Makemake or Haumeia. The total budget of such a mission is estimated by researchers at $ 1 billion (without start-up costs).
Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper Belt mission, horizons ", systems, span,Kuiper, “New, apparatus, will, Solar, Uranus, allow, construction, billion, its, dollars, number, researchers, Stern, estimated, budget

The second, more complex and expensive apparatus, resembling the station "Cassini", will be sent to Neptune. His mission will include the flyover of a centaur asteroid, going into orbit around Neptune and dumping a research probe into its atmosphere. Special attention will be paid to the study of Triton. This satellite is a Kuiper belt object,captured by the planet in the distant past. Thus, the researchers intend to kill two birds with one stone, having studied two bodies of different origin. The total budget of such a mission is estimated at 2.6 billion dollars.
Scientists have proposed a mission plan for ice giants and the Kuiper Belt mission, horizons ”, systems, span, Kuiper,“ New, apparatus, will, Solar, Uranus, allow, construction, billion, its, dollars, number, researchers, Stern, estimated, budget

The proposed concept has several advantages. Its implementation will allow to study both the ice giant and the Kuiper belt. At the same time, the simultaneous construction and launch of stations will allow saving by using identical components. The total estimate of the project should be about $ 3.6 billion, which is comparable to the budget of the average NASA flagship mission.
Scientists have proposed a mission plan for ice giants and the Kuiper Belt mission, horizons ”, systems, span, Kuiper,“ New, apparatus, will, Solar, Uranus, allow, construction, billion, its, dollars, number, researchers, Stern, estimated, budget

The authors of the article offer several options for possible cost reduction. These include the use of the super-heavy SLS rocket for the simultaneous launch of both vehicles and the involvement of foreign space agencies in the project. For example, the ESA could undertake the construction of atmospheric probes for Uranus and Neptune.
Scientists have proposed a mission plan for ice giants and the Kuiper Belt mission, horizons ”, systems, span, Kuiper,“ New, apparatus, will, Solar, Uranus, allow, construction, billion, its, dollars, number, researchers, Stern, estimated, budget

Of course, we should not forget that so far we are talking only about the concept of the mission. Each year, NASA considers many similar proposals, but only a handful of them come to implementation. But given the authors of the article, the idea definitely deserves attention.In the end, Alan Stern managed to realize the New Horizons mission despite the fact that the project was repeatedly threatened with closure.

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Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt

Scientists have proposed a mission plan for the ice giants and the Kuiper belt