‘Once in a lifetime’: UK and European space scientists urged to join Nasa mission to Uranus | Space | Space

European space scientists have been urged to join forces with Nasa to ensure the success of one of the most ambitious space missions planned for launch this century.

Joining a robot spaceflight to the mysterious planet Uranus would offer “the opportunity to participate in a groundbreaking, flagship-class mission”, astrophysicists have said.

The call was made in Nature, the leading science journal, in a special editorial which exhorted the European Space Agency (Esa) to form an international partnership with Nasa. Such cooperation would ensure that the Uranus mission – which would involve putting a robot spacecraft in orbit round the planet and dropping a probe into its thick, icy atmosphere – is completed in time and on budget.

The mission will take 10 years to develop and 12-15 years to reach Uranus after launch.

The editorial’s authors, Olivier Mousis, professor of astrophysics at Aix-Marseille University, and American astrophysicist Robin Canup, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said: “A lack of substantial European involvement in a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime flagship mission would also undermine the large community of scientists, engineers and technicians engaged in space exploration across Europe who have strong interest in planets and the search for extraterrestrial life.”

The creation of a European-US partnership for a Uranus mission…

Source www.theguardian.com

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