CDF Study Report: Ice Giants
Publication date: 01 January 2019
Document reference: CDF-187(C)
A mission to the Ice Giants (Neptune and Uranus) will be among the ones examined by the next Planetary Sciences Decadal, which also fits with the potential launch opportunity, with a Jupiter swing-by, that would allow to reach both planets by launching in the early 2030s.
ESA is exploring potential contributions to a NASA-led mission to the ice giants aimed at understanding the interior structure and bulk composition of the planet(s), including isotopes and noble gases.
ESA and NASA agreed to study a palette of possible configurations of varying cost to ESA and complexity, keeping in mind the need for clear interfaces.
It is important to keep this background in mind and remember that this study is not analysing a specific science proposal but trying to understand potential contributions following a top-down approach.
Requested by SCI-FM and funded by GSP, the M* (Ice Giants) study was set to analyse the feasibility of "stand-alone" elements provided by ESA to be part of the NASA-led mission to Uranus, Neptune and their moons (M-class mission budget but not proposed following a Cosmic Vision Programme Call, hence M*).Link to publication