NASA scientist wants to explore the interior of Uranus

Uranus hasn’t been poked, prodded or probed by NASA in over 30 years, and one scientist wants to give it the attention it deserves.

By TeeJay Small | Published

film shot in space

Whether you’re a fan of the galaxy far, far away adventurous Star Wars movies or just a humble traveler marveling at modern science from afar, one thing’s for sure: We’re all a little curious about what’s going on in Uranus. NASA hadn’t sent a spacecraft to the distant gas giant in over 30 years when Voyager 2 conducted a fly-by inspection in 1986. Now, according to, it appears we may finally be ready to explore the vast unknown voids of Uranus, using orbiters and probes to conduct in-depth investigations.

Uranus is of course the seventh planet from our solar system, named after a deity from Greek mythology, the grandfather of Zeus. With a surface area of ​​3.121 billion square kilometers, the planet has the fourth largest planetary mass and third largest planetary radius in the Solar System. All of this is to say, Uranus is absolutely gigantic and just teeming with oddities to explore.

Without even taking into account the 27 moons that orbit the gaseous ice giant, the distant planet contains a wealth of fascinating scientific discoveries to be studied. Since man first set foot on the moon in 1969, NASA has been working on major discoveries across the solar system, including several fascinating discoveries of water and crystals on Mars. This is what NASA scientist Kathleen E. Mandt hopes to recreate with a probe of the far surface of Uranus, looking for liquid water or varying degrees of solidity across the planet’s vast surface.

A rendering of Uranus and its moons

The probe in question will also teach children and future generations about the origins of Uranus, such as how long ago it was formed and what process led to its existence. The probe will also attempt to investigate how much Uranus has moved from its original position, if at all. Uranus is so large that measuring its orbit would require hundreds of scientists working around the clock, carefully analyzing the smallest changes in course.

With Voyager 2 currently the only attempted exploration of Uranus, it seems no one has had the nerve to take another crack at it until Kathleen E. Mandt submitted her recent proposal to delve into the mysterious world. Mandt’s proposals are being surveyed as part of NASA’s decennial survey, which they conduct every ten years to define the priorities and technological capabilities of modern science to shift focus toward the most urgent advances possible. The scientific community is striving to enter Uranus, as the survey is an incredibly expensive, but always effective form of gathering ground-breaking information.

A potential exploration of Uranus could reveal mysteries in the solar system that previous scientists could only dream of. With the past 30 years bringing countless advances in science and technology, the future of space exploration may soon mirror the future of Christopher Nolan’s 2014 cinematic predictions Interstellar. Whether or not NASA agrees to fund the project and boldly explore where no human has ever explored before, we can be confident that Uranus may one day be the key to unlocking interstellar space travel into distant galaxies across the universe.

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