Neptune and Uranus have been notoriously scant in terms of exploration, with only distant probes sent to take pictures of objects in the areas.t despite having great technological capacity, the united states and foreign governments still haven adventured out to send more probes. This concerns the value of these pacts as well as the economics of space exploration.
Currently, NASA, with a smaller budget than that of the 1960s, has European before the outer systems on its list of priorities. Claiming there will be “no Apollo moment“ for the present space program, NASA staff have aimed for unambitious targets. A smaller budget leaves extensive gaps in fill: the last probe, Voyager, was sent in 1987 and took distant photos of previously unknown moons.
Other barriers exist, such as the long time required for a probe to travel to Uranus and Neptune. NASA states that the two planets are in consideration for a probe, but the purpose of the mission is expected to be $2 billion out of a total $17.5 billion budget for NASA. It should also be noted that while Uranus is 1.8 billion miles away, Neptune is one billion miles more, posing a vast difference in scale. A single probe sent to both planets will most likely not be able to get a detailed perception of either, at least simultaneously.
As NASAs budget remains small, its priorities have shifted to more close-to-home missions. While a Mars mission, priced at around $100 billion is prohibitively expensive, probing operations to moons that could possibly hold extraterrestrial life prove a more alluring prospect in the time being than missions to the outer system and Pluto. The wealth of scientific knowledge to be drawn from any extra planetary exploration is dubious, but given the small investment in NSA, it seems reasonable that such an inexpensive program, costing the average taxpayer several cents per month, in one of the most statistically efficient government programs, would be reasonable.