Uranus by 2049: Here's why scientists want NASA to send a flagship mission to the strange planet

A key committee of scientists has recommended that a flagship mission to Uranus should be NASA's highest-priority large planetary science mission for the next decade.

Uranus by 2049: Here's why scientists want NASA to send a flagship mission to the strange planet : Read more
Very cool! That's quite a financial commitment, but they intend to "do it right." [Cat, would the period be inside the quote since it is integral to the sentence?]

The search for a name
The committee recommended that work on a true mission design should begin by 2024, budgets allowing, but any Uranus mission is going to need an iconic name.
Uranus was the first planet ever discovered that was not known from antiquity. When William Herschell discovered it he gave it a name. But the science community didn't like it so they (Germans introduced it) gave it the name that has been the bane of teachers everywhere - Uranus. Anyone need to know why????&%$#@ *wink*

Herschell's designated name for this planet would be by far the best honorable name one could give it, IMAHO [In My Almost Honest Opinion]. Out of respect for the discoverer, therefore, I offer you his original name.... George. [Actually Georgium Sidus.] I'm not a big fan of King George, but I have my reasons....

George (aka Helio)
 
I note here, one goal is to explain how ice giants form from postulated primordial discs like the solar nebula and our protoplanetary disc spinning around the early Sun. We do not see this in the solar system today. Another important reason, searching for life in the solar system (other than on Earth). The article stated, "Uranus has 27 moons, but scientists think that its five largest moons — Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon — may be ocean worlds that could possibly harbor life. "Investigation of these moons would enhance our knowledge of where potentially habitable bodies exist in our solar system," Beddingfield said. These moons are not covered in craters, which suggests they may be geologically active with changing surfaces, possibly because of ice volcanoes."

Okay, in 1882 Charles Darwin speculated about abiogenesis creating life from non-living matter but acknowledged, no good evidence presented in his days to show this in science. Charles Darwin in 1882 stated about the origin of life, "Though no evidence worth anything has as yet, in my opinion, been advanced in favor of a living being being developed from inorganic matter, yet I cannot avoid believing the possibility of this will be proved some day in accordance with the law of continuity.1", Charles Darwin, “To Daniel Mackintosh 28 February 1882,” Darwin Correspondence Project, letter 13711, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-13711.

Is the evidence for life arising on some of the moons of Uranus from non-living matter better today than when Darwin wrote in 1882? Darwin used a warm little pond for life arising from non-living matter, something that 140 years later is still waiting to see this in nature operating.
 
I note here, one goal is to explain how ice giants form from postulated primordial discs like the solar nebula and our protoplanetary disc spinning around the early Sun.
The general model I think is understood. Every young accretion disk will have a frost line - where the temperature allows only ices. The inner zone is more prone to thinning as the star gets hotter. These gases move outward and also fuel the fast-growing outer protoplanets. No doubt, the data from the mission will be able to tweak thinks like composition, will may help define where in the disk it originally formed.


Okay, in 1882 Charles Darwin speculated about abiogenesis...
Yes, but this isn't part of his model of evolution. The Origin of the Species, is not the origin of life; it is how species evolve into new species. This is similar to the BBT that never begins at the true beginning (t=0).

Darwin used a warm little pond for life arising from non-living matter...
I think this was Erasmus Darwin. His 1803 poem is interesting:
Organic life beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nurs’d in Ocean’s pearly caves;
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin and feet and wing.

As you note, there is no evidence supporting his supposition. :)
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Helio,

"but they intend to "do it right! !.!"
[Cat, would the period be inside the quote since it is integral to the sentence?]"
Most definitely outside. "do it right" is the quote. It is only part of the sentence/construct which, at the VERY END will have a full stop ((period).

If you said that it was "a green man, from the Moon." would you ask where the full stop (period) should be?

HINT A sentence must end with a terminal punctuation mark, such as . or ?

Cat ;)
 
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Helio,

"but they intend to "do it right! !.!"
[Cat, would the period be inside the quote since it is integral to the sentence?]"
Most definitely outside. "do it right" is the quote. It is only part of the sentence/construct which, at the VERY END will have a full stop ((period).

If you said that it was "a green man, from the Moon." would you ask where the full stop (period) should be?

HINT A sentence must end with a terminal punctuation mark, such as . or ?
Okay, that should improve my "batting average". ;)
 
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The general model I think is understood. Every young accretion disk will have a frost line - where the temperature allows only ices. The inner zone is more prone to thinning as the star gets hotter. These gases move outward and also fuel the fast-growing outer protoplanets. No doubt, the data from the mission will be able to tweak thinks like composition, will may help define where in the disk it originally formed.


Yes, but this isn't part of his model of evolution. The Origin of the Species, is not the origin of life; it is how species evolve into new species. This is similar to the BBT that never begins at the true beginning (t=0).

I think this was Erasmus Darwin. His 1803 poem is interesting:
Organic life beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nurs’d in Ocean’s pearly caves;
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin and feet and wing.

As you note, there is no evidence supporting his supposition. :)
"Yes, but this isn't part of his model of evolution. The Origin of the Species, is not the origin of life; it is how species evolve into new species."

However, the Origin traces all life back to life's last common ancestor, a single celled life that evolved into all we see in the fossil record and on Earth today. How did that first living cell arise according to Charles Darwin? My quote in post #3 shows just how. We do not see this in nature today (at least I have not seen such reports) and we do not see proto-uranus or proto-planetary embryos moving around in the solar system today.

1. We do not see abiogenesis taking place in nature as Charles Darwin postulated.
2. We do not see all the proto-planet forms spinning around the Sun today in the ecliptic too.
 
How did that first living cell arise according to Charles Darwin?
I may be misunderstanding your point. How did Newton explain gravity? He admitted that he couldn't but he could quantify its behavior into a nice equation.

I suspect Darwin knew he had no real answer. But, for him, he had a much more difficult question to answer. What mechanism within his model explained how one tiny variation could be reproduced into the off-spring? He correctly recognized this is how varieties would evolve but other scientists weren't happy with his ad hoc guess that he inserted in his 2nd edition.

My quote in post #3 shows just how.
I don't see your how.

We do not see this in nature today (at least I have not seen such reports) and we do not see proto-uranus or proto-planetary embryos moving around in the solar system today.
No scientist would suggest you would see a protoplanet in our system since a massive accretion disk is required. We can infer how they formed by observing other protoplanets form, as well as, use physics to produce models where the initial conditions can be somewhat assumed.

The NICE model seems to be a fairly accurate, though still incomplete, model of how our system formed.

1. We do not see abiogenesis taking place in nature as Charles Darwin postulated.
Right, but "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". It may be very important to us that, if it did take place, it isn't frequent so that it reeks havoc on other life forms, like us.

2. We do not see all the proto-planet forms spinning around the Sun today in the ecliptic too.
Unlike abiogenesis, we do see it elsewhere to some extent. More "seeing" is coming, especially from the eyes of the JWST and others like ALMA.
 
I may be misunderstanding your point. How did Newton explain gravity? He admitted that he couldn't but he could quantify its behavior into a nice equation.

I suspect Darwin knew he had no real answer. But, for him, he had a much more difficult question to answer. What mechanism within his model explained how one tiny variation could be reproduced into the off-spring? He correctly recognized this is how varieties would evolve but other scientists weren't happy with his ad hoc guess that he inserted in his 2nd edition.

I don't see your how.

No scientist would suggest you would see a protoplanet in our system since a massive accretion disk is required. We can infer how they formed by observing other protoplanets form, as well as, use physics to produce models where the initial conditions can be somewhat assumed.

The NICE model seems to be a fairly accurate, though still incomplete, model of how our system formed.

Right, but "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". It may be very important to us that, if it did take place, it isn't frequent so that it reeks havoc on other life forms, like us.

Unlike abiogenesis, we do see it elsewhere to some extent. More "seeing" is coming, especially from the eyes of the JWST and others like ALMA.
Nice dodge Helio but in our solar system we do not see proto-planets or proto-planet embryos and we do not see abiogenesis as Darwin postulated in his 1882 letters, even 140 years later. Charles Darwin postulate for the origin of life on Earth from non-living matter is the foundation for astrobiology. If this is not the true explanation for the origin of life, astrobiology as a *science* falls apart. This must be clearly expressed to the public I feel.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Helio. Don't ask me about grammar. I am a dinosaur, under no illusion that English English will not survive the overwhelming pressure of US English media that can't spell 'algorhythm' - well, I think you know what I mean,

Every day I hear mixed/single pronouns/verbs and I cringe - and sometimes I do it myself. It is so normal to start a sentence with "It;s" whatever the rest of the sentence.

Sic transit dinosauria.

Cat :)
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Sorry, Rod. I must complain about this:
"If this is not the true explanation for the origin of life, astrobiology as a *science* falls apart. This must be clearly expressed to the public I feel."

Cat :)
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Coming back on topic . . . . . .
"A key committee of scientists has recommended that a flagship mission to Uranus should be NASA's highest-priority large planetary science mission for the next decade."

Another combined Uranus/Neptune would be wonderful - but we are past the window.

Choosing between the two, I don't know. I would be content with either.

Cat :)
 
Nice dodge Helio but in our solar system we do not see proto-planets...
No dodge. One is apples the other oranges.

It would be a huge hiccup in science if we did discover a protoplanet forming in the solar system. The scientific models make it clear why we wouldn't ever find a protoplanet forming in a 4.5+ Gyr star system like ours.

.. and we do not see abiogenesis as Darwin postulated in his 1882 letters, even 140 years later.
He offered no real explanation for abiogenesis. He was offering only supposition, which isn't based on known objective evidence. Indeed no one has. For this reason, I don't technically consider abiogenesis a theory since nothing specific can be tested. But the supposition for it is not without merit. A supernatural explanation is certainly no better scientifically, but if one wishes to use a supernatural explanation then it should also have wiggle room for abiogenesis as a choice for a "prime mover" as a design mechanism.

Charles Darwin postulate for the origin of life on Earth from non-living matter is the foundation for astrobiology.
You may know better than I do whether Charles Darwin deserves this distinction. Why not his grandfather, given the poem, or another more prominent scientist with far more knowledge?

If we do find life on other planets or moons, it will add great credibility for abiogenesis. The contrary is also true. :) I'm open to either because I have no real idea.

If this is not the true explanation for the origin of life, astrobiology as a *science* falls apart.
What science requires abiogenesis? The current evolution models won't change just like the BBT won't change if we get even closer to t=0, or even reach t=0. Gravity will not suddenly change, only the history of gravity will change.
 
Coming back on topic . . . . . .
"A key committee of scientists has recommended that a flagship mission to Uranus should be NASA's highest-priority large planetary science mission for the next decade."

Another combined Uranus/Neptune would be wonderful - but we are past the window.

Choosing between the two, I don't know. I would be content with either.
Uranus seems better to me because it is such an odd-ball. The crazy axial tilt it has demands that it has had a very odd past, likely a violent one. A huge impact probably caused the tilt but did this move Uranus in our out of its prior orbit? Lots of questions.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
OK, Uranus suffered a collision as did Mercury, Venus, Earth and probably most other planets. The effects on outer planets are not so obvious.

But Neptune is showing that heat does not only come from the Sun. 30AU and it is warmer than Uranus.

Cat :)
 
OK, Uranus suffered a collision as did Mercury, Venus, Earth and probably most other planets. The effects on outer planets are not so obvious.
Uranus is very odd with a 98 deg. tilt. [Ok. Venus is essentially upside down, so that too is interesting.]

But this is even more interesting in that the others have about the same tilt like Earth. Jupiter and Mercury, admittedly, have little to no tilt.

But Neptune is showing that heat does not only come from the Sun. 30AU and it is warmer than Uranus.
Good point. We might learn more from Uranus on this, but a trip to Neptune would be better for this issue, no doubt.
 
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No dodge. One is apples the other oranges.

It would be a huge hiccup in science if we did discover a protoplanet forming in the solar system. The scientific models make it clear why we wouldn't ever find a protoplanet forming in a 4.5+ Gyr star system like ours.

He offered no real explanation for abiogenesis. He was offering only supposition, which isn't based on known objective evidence. Indeed no one has. For this reason, I don't technically consider abiogenesis a theory since nothing specific can be tested. But the supposition for it is not without merit. A supernatural explanation is certainly no better scientifically, but if one wishes to use a supernatural explanation then it should also have wiggle room for abiogenesis as a choice for a "prime mover" as a design mechanism.

You may know better than I do whether Charles Darwin deserves this distinction. Why not his grandfather, given the poem, or another more prominent scientist with far more knowledge?

If we do find life on other planets or moons, it will add great credibility for abiogenesis. The contrary is also true. :) I'm open to either because I have no real idea.

What science requires abiogenesis? The current evolution models won't change just like the BBT won't change if we get even closer to t=0, or even reach t=0. Gravity will not suddenly change, only the history of gravity will change.
"It would be a huge hiccup in science if we did discover a protoplanet forming in the solar system. The scientific models make it clear why we wouldn't ever find a protoplanet forming in a 4.5+ Gyr star system like ours."

To clarify, I am not talking about observing protoplanets *forming* in the solar system today. There is only about 447 earth masses from Mercury to Pluto in the ecliptic today. I am talking about seeing protoplanets in the solar system today that are used in the computer models. Here is an example report.

A closer look at Jupiter's origin story, https://phys.org/news/2022-04-closer-jupiter-story.html

My observation. The 9-page PDF report, https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/ac54b1/pdf, “4.3. Assumed Disk Model In this study, we adopt a relatively large disk in comparison to observed protoplanetary disks (e.g., Andrews et al. 2010)We hope to investigate other planetesimal distributions and their time evolution in future studies. Finally, it should be noted that the initial planetesimal distribution also affects the leftover distribution of small objects. By the end of the simulations in Case 2, more than 10M⊕ of planetesimals remain in the region interior to Jupiter’s orbit. These objects do not exist at present in the solar system; however, the nonaccreted planetesimals mainly come from distances <~ 10 au."

*These objects do not exist at present in the solar system;*, I find reporting like this direct and refreshing. The same for reports like this. WHERE DID THE ICE GIANT PLANETS FORM?, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/where-did-the-ice-giant-planets-form/

Reference paper, Possible in situ formation of Uranus and Neptune via Pebble Accretion, https://arxiv.org/pdf/2203.06545.pdf, 13-March-2022, 18-pages. "ABSTRACT The origin of Uranus and Neptune is still unknown. In particular, it has been challenging for planet formation models to form the planets in their current radial distances within the expected lifetime of the solar nebula."

So in one report we have clearly declared the 10 earth mass planetesimals do not exist in the solar system today and the other report clearly indicates Uranus and Neptune origins, *is still unknown*.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Helio and Rod, maybe best taken up elsewhere, but is it pure coincidence that Mars's axial tilt is very similar to Earth's, being inclined 25.19° to its orbital plane (whereas Earth's axial tilt is just over 23°), when Earth has been involved in a major collision (Theia) but, afaik) Mars has not had such a collision? If Mars has been involved, would that not make the point even stronger?

Cat :)
 
To clarify, I am not talking about observing protoplanets *forming* in the solar system today. There is only about 447 earth masses from Mercury to Pluto in the ecliptic today. I am talking about seeing protoplanets in the solar system today that are used in the computer models. Here is an example report.
Ok, you're addressing today's model's placement of protoplanets, not actually "seeing protoplanets in the solar system today...".

Thanks for that link. It's interesting how composition within the atmosphere can greatly affect things like formation models.

Nevertheless, AFAIK, the mainstream view for our "pin-ball" type formation process may not match their migration model because today's orbits for all the planets is the ultimate goal.

You, better than I given your interest, might enjoy looking at the NICE planetary formation, assuming this is still the favored model, though still not perfect.

So in one report we have clearly declared the 10 earth mass planetesimals do not exist in the solar system today and the other report clearly indicates Uranus and Neptune origins, *is still unknown*.
Yes. Perhaps it will take a lot more data from probes traveling deep into planetary interiors, and many more improved values for variables to establish an effective model, but I would bet we have a long way to go. The "herding cats" fun phrase likely applies to those trying to do this.
 
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... but is it pure coincidence that Mars's axial tilt is very similar to Earth's, being inclined 25.19° to its orbital plane (whereas Earth's axial tilt is just over 23°), when Earth has been involved in a major collision (Theia) but, afaik) Mars has not had such a collision?
Yes, that is a nice coincidence since we can more easily understand its seasons. Since Mars, however, doesn't host a massive moon relative to the mass of Mars, then its axial tilt varies up to 45 deg, though I'm going on weak memory. This creates big environmental issues for Mars with this much instability.
 

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