Uranus up close: What NASA’s ‘ice giant’ mission would teach us

A mission to Uranus is now the top priority of NASA planetary scientists in the future, and exploration of this mysterious ice giant could shed light on a kind of planet now known to be one of the most common in the universe, scientists say.

Since astronomers discovered the first exoplanets orbiting distant stars more than 30 years ago, one of the most common types of alien worlds scientists have discovered are ice giants. While gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn is, as the name suggests, mostly gas, ice giants such as Uranus and Neptune are rich in heavier elements.

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