Uranus is a very weird planet. Here's why astronomers want to send a probe to it

Image Credit:VPnews

Uranus, more than any other of our planets, has struggled with its image over time.

Its name is the stuff of jokes, and NASA's revelation last week that it wants to send a probe to Uranus was a comedian's dream come true.

Planetary scientists, on the other hand, are ecstatic that our seventh planet will finally receive its day in the limelight.

One of the reasons it has been so lonely and misunderstood is because it is so far away from the Sun — 2.9 billion kilometres.

Unlike its more famous siblings Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus has only had one visitor

a brief flyby by the Voyager 2 probe in 1986, according to Amy Simon, a NASA scientist who has been lobbying for the planet's discovery.

It's one of the strangest planets in the Solar System and yet we haven't been back there

So the time is right for us now to really go explore the whole system.

Image Credit:BBC

This really is huge, unexplored territory

As soon as we start researching one of the two, we'll find out a lot about the other

So, let's have a look at what makes this planet so fascinating

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