Wednesday — Washington shares some wonderful news. We return to Uranus! (And Enceladus!!!)
On April 19th 2022, a briefing in Washington D.C released the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023–2032.
Uranus from Miranda Credit: Don Dixon
This committee which the National Academy of Sciences leads, offers NASA guidance for prioritizing science goals and helps inform future missions that address the mysteries that persist in astronomy, astrophysics, earth science, and heliophysics.
This committee just shared their new recommendations and, most importantly, identified which concepts NASA should pursue in the coming decade as Large Strategic Science Missions (LSSM)—formerly known as "Flagship missions."
And now, Drum Roll, please……
The highest priority for a Flagship mission awarded a robotic mission that would explore
Uranus. This mission would deliver an in-situ atmospheric probe into Uranus' atmosphere and conduct a multi-year orbital tour to study the ice giant and its system.
Planetary Decadal Survey April 19, 2022
A mission named the; Uranus Orbiter and Probe (UOP), whose scientific objectives would include the study of Uranus' interior, atmosphere, magnetosphere, satellites, and rings. To read the full report, click on the image below.
While the UOP's primary focus will study Uranus, my wish is that it will turn its attention to Miranda during its residence. Perhaps the allure of her exotic topography and giant ice cliff will be the perfect postcard the probe will want to snap up during his outer solar systems adventures.
Verona Rupes--The Great Wall of Miranda Credit: Ron Miller
Because when thinking about it, Voyager 2's last visit left us on quite a "cliffhanger" in all sense of the word.
Cliff of Miranda - Eriq Wernquist
Whether Miranda can enjoy any attention from the future UOP, which will take 13 years of travels to Uranus, I am confident that 26 years after Miranda's visit by Voyager 2, her story does live on in this 5th movement, in symphony and song!
"So, no need to wait 13 years Miranda, the musical stage is set,
now go ahead and take your bow!"