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The case for more flybys
post Oct 7 2015, 05:28 PM
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I took a quick glance at opportunities for Uranus/Neptune gravity assists to major KBOs. These bodies revolve so slowly that they may almost be regarded as stationary from the standpoint of planning over the next decade or two. It seems to me that Neptune seems well-placed for gravity assists to Eris or Sedna. Uranus might be well-placed for a gravity assist to Sedna if such a mission launched soon (which it won't). After another decade or two, Uranus will be positioned for gravity assists to Varuna; later, one to Orcus; still later, to Makemake and/or Haumea. Quaoar is odd-KBO out, with no opportunities for Uranus or Neptune gravity assists for a few decades.

So, a Neptune-Eris mission seems like a viable possibility in the decades to come, and a clone of that hardware might make a useful Uranus-Varuna mission. The latter mission would likely be complete before the Eris flyby from the former would take place due to the much longer cruise, which would require specialized hardware to suit the ultra-long distances.
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Ron Hobbs
post Nov 13 2015, 06:01 PM
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Those would be great missions maybe for technology demonstration of the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System

One can always dream! rolleyes.gif
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