Status Report

Ice Giant System Exploration in the 2020s: An Introduction

By SpaceRef Editor
August 28, 2020
Filed under ,

L.N. Fletcher, A.A. Simon, M.D. Hofstadter, C.S. Arridge, I. Cohen, A. Masters, K. Mandt, A. Coustenis

The international planetary science community met in London in January 2020, united in the goal of realising the first dedicated robotic mission to the distant Ice Giants, Uranus and Neptune, as the only major class of Solar System planet yet to be comprehensively explored. Ice-Giant-sized worlds appear to be a common outcome of the planet formation process, and pose unique and extreme tests of our understanding of planetary origins, exotic water-rich planetary interiors, dynamic seasonal atmospheres, complex magnetospheric configurations, geologically-rich icy satellites (both natural and captured), and delicate planetary rings. This article introduces a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A on Ice Giant System exploration at the start of the 2020s. We review the scientific potential and existing mission design concepts for an ambitious international partnership for exploring Uranus and/or Neptune in the coming decades.

Comments: 13 pages, 2 figures. Introductory article (accepted) for “Ice Giant Systems” special issue of Phil. Trans. A, based on Royal Society Discussion Meeting, Jan 2020

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:2008.12125 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2008.12125v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

From: Leigh Fletcher 

[v1] Wed, 26 Aug 2020 12:51:08 UTC (3,801 KB)

SpaceRef staff editor.