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Almost 30 years after the NASA spacecraft visited the outer planets in our solar system, Uranus and Neptune, the space agency is looking to go back.
To make use of the developments in the technology over the past 30 years, a NASA scientist and his team at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. dreaming new instruments that would be able to explore and the atmosphere of both planets. Uranus and Neptune are relatively unexplored, the space agency said, despite the fact that the Voyager 2 snapped pictures of the two planets in 1986 and 1989, respectively.
“Available materials, filters, electronic sensors, flight computing, and data management and processing have all improved,” Shahid Aslam, who is leading the team to the development of the next-gen flight hardware, said in a statement. “Frankly, we have better technology all the way around. It is clear that the time is now to the development of the next generation of this instrument for the future in the atmosphere probes.”
NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first glimpse of Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. This photo, taken at a distance of 4.4 million miles from the planet, shows the Great Dark Spot and its companion bright smudge. These clouds were seen to persist for as long as Voyager’s cameras could resolve them. (Credit: NASA)
NASA WANTS TO EXPLORE NEPTUNE’S MOON TRITON SOLAR SYSTEM’S COLDEST OBJECT ‘CAN HAVE A VIEW ON THE OCEAN, A CARRIER OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE’
Aslam and his team want to create a new unit equal to the net flux radiometer on board of the Galileo mission that helped discover Jupiter’s atmosphere and adapt to the atmospheric conditions of both the ice giants, which the researcher said that would be important for the mission.
“Actually, you can learn a lot of the net flux data, sources and sinks of planetary radiation,” Aslam added
There are a number of differences between the proposed craft and the device, and the one that visited Jupiter. These include the use of thermopile sensors (can be converted into heat or infrared wavelengths into electrical signals), infrared channels (measurement of heat), extra viewing angles and a narrower field of view.
It is also likely that the device is smaller and able to support faster data sampling, Aslam said.
This is a picture of the planet Uranus taken by the spacecraft Voyager 2, which flew close past the seventh planet from the Sun in January 1986. (Credit: NASA)
Now, there are no formal plans to send a spacecraft to either Neptune and Uranus.
Although both planets have not done research on the length of others, such as Mars or Saturn, some information is known about them. They contain a “slushy mantle of water, ammonia and methane ice, while their atmospheres consist of molecular hydrogen, helium and methane gas.” NASA added in the statement.
The color of the planets can be the result of the level of methane in their environment, but something else is the cause of the two planets’ striking colors, Aslam added. Uranus appears as a “fuzzy, blue-green and Neptune is a deep blue.
MISSION OF THE NASA FINDS THE FIRST EARTH-SIZED ALIEN PLANET
In March, scientists at the NASA JPL proposed a mission that would explore, the largest moon of Neptune, Triton, which some have theorized may be an ocean hiding under the surface.
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