List of minor planets and comets visited by spacecraft

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The following table lists all minor planets and comets that have been visited by spacecraft.

List of minor planets that have been visited by spacecraft[edit]

Name Diameter
(km)
Discovered Spacecraft Year(s) Closest
approach
(km)
Notes
Ceres, 11 Ceres 952 January 1, 1801 Dawn 2014–present approx. 200 (planned) Dawn took its first "close up" picture of Ceres in December 2014, and will enter orbit in March 2015
Vesta, 44 Vesta 529 March 29, 1807 Dawn 2011–2012 approx. 200 Dawn broke orbit on 5 September 2012 and is headed for Ceres, to arrive in March 2015
Lutetia, 2121 Lutetia 120×100×80 November 15, 1852 Rosetta 2010 3,162 Flyby
Ida, 243243 Ida 56×24×21 September 29, 1884 Galileo 1993 2,390 Flyby; discovered Dactyl
Mathilde, 253253 Mathilde 66×48×46 November 12, 1885 NEAR Shoemaker 1997 1,212 Flyby
Eros, 433433 Eros 13×13×33 August 13, 1898 NEAR Shoemaker 1998 3,827 Flyby
Eros, 433433 Eros 13×13×33 August 13, 1898 NEAR Shoemaker 2000 35 Orbited; first asteroid studied from orbit
Eros, 433433 Eros 13×13×33 August 13, 1898 NEAR Shoemaker 2001 0 Landed
Gaspra, 951951 Gaspra 18.2×10.5×8.9 July 30, 1916 Galileo 1991 1,600 Flyby; first asteroid visited by a spacecraft
Masursky, 26852685 Masursky 15-20 May 3, 1981 Cassini 2000 1,600,000 Distant flyby
Šteins, 28672867 Šteins 4.6 November 4, 1969 Rosetta 2008 800 Flyby
Annefrank, 55355535 Annefrank 4.0 March 23, 1942 Stardust 2002 3,079 Flyby
Braille, 99699969 Braille 2.2×0.6 May 27, 1992 Deep Space 1 1999 26 Flyby; followed by flyby of Comet Borrelly
Itokawa, 2514325143 Itokawa ~1 September 26, 1998 Hayabusa 2005 0 Landed; returned samples to Earth
APL, 132524132524 APL ~2.5 May 9, 2002 New Horizons 2006 101,867 Distant flyby
4179 Toutatis 4.5×~2 February 10, 1934 Chang'e 2 2012 3.2 Flyby[1]

List of minor planets targeted for spacecraft visitation[edit]

The following table lists minor planets that are planned to be visited by spacecraft. Dwarf planets are also included.

Name Diameter
(km)
Discovered Spacecraft Country Year(s) Notes
1 Ceres 959×933 January 1, 1801 Dawn  USA 2015 Orbit – March 2015 (dwarf planet)
134340 Pluto 2344 February 18, 1930 New Horizons United States USA 2015 Flyby – July 2015 (dwarf planet)
101955 Bennu ~0.5 September 11, 1999 OSIRIS-REx United States USA 2020 Future planned landing
65803 Didymos ~1 (+.15) April 11, 1996 AIDA  EU N/A Proposal
(162173) 1999 JU3 ~1 May 10, 1999 Hayabusa 2  Japan N/A Orbit expected June 2018 – December 2019. Several landers and sample collecting touchdowns planned

Asteroids that come to close enough to Earth can sometimes be observed, such as 4769 Castalia. See List of asteroid close approaches to Earth

List of minor planets formerly targeted for spacecraft visitation[edit]

Former targets (were at one time proposed as a target).

Name Diameter
(km)
Discovered Spacecraft Year(s) Notes
Siwa, 140140 Siwa 103 October 13, 1874 Rosetta Abandoned target
Hamburga, 449449 Hamburga 86 October 31, 1899 CRAF Mission cancelled
Geographos, 16201620 Geographos 5.1×1.8 September 14, 1951 Clementine Abandoned target
van Albada, 20192019 van Albada September 28, 1935 NEAR Abandoned target
Shipka, 25302530 Shipka   July 9, 1978 Rosetta Abandoned target
Rodari, 27032703 Rodari   March 29, 1979 Rosetta Abandoned target
McAuliffe, 33523352 McAuliffe 2–5 February 6, 1981 Deep Space 1 Abandoned target
Mimistrobell, 38403840 Mimistrobell   October 9, 1980 Rosetta Abandoned target
Wilson–Harrington, 40154015 Wilson–Harrington November 19, 1949 Deep Space 1 Abandoned target, also a comet
Nereus, 46604660 Nereus ~1 February 28, 1982 NEAR
NEAP
Hayabusa
Abandoned target
Mission cancelled
Abandoned target
Otawara, 49794979 Otawara 5.5 August 2, 1949 Rosetta Abandoned target
(163249) 2002 GT April 3, 2002 Deep Impact Communications with spacecraft lost

Comets visited by spacecraft[edit]

Comet Year of discovery Spacecraft Year of visit Closest
approach
(km)
Notes
Giacobini–Zinner 1900 ICE 1985 7800 Flyby
Halley Known since antiquity Vega 1 1986 8889 Flyby
Vega 2 1986 8030 Flyby
Suisei 1986 151000 Distant flyby
Giotto 1986 596 Flyby
Grigg–Skjellerup 1902 Giotto 1992 200 Flyby
Borrelly 1904 Deep Space 1 2001 2171[2] Flyby
Wild 2 1978 Stardust 2004 240 Flyby; returned samples to Earth
Tempel 1 1867 Deep Impact 2005 0 Flyby; blasted a crater using an impactor
Hartley 2 1986 EPOXI
(was Deep Impact)
2010 700 Flyby; smallest comet visited
Tempel 1 1867 Stardust 2011 181 Flyby; imaged the crater created by Deep Impact
Churyumov–Gerasimenko 1969 Rosetta 2014 <10[3] Currently in orbit
Philae (Rosetta's lander) 2014 0 Landed[4]

Spacecraft visited by comets[edit]

Comet Siding Spring encountered Mars on 19 October 2014.

Comet C/2013 A1 passed close by Mars in October 2014, closer than the Moon is to Earth. [5] As of early 2014 it was calculated to pass as close as 0.00087 AU (130,000 km; 81,000 mi).[5] This was so close that the event was deemed dangerous to spacecraft in orbit around Mars.[6] Spacecraft that were active at that time included 2001 Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, MAVEN, Mars Orbiter Mission, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in Mars orbit – and two on the surface – Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity and the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chang'E 2 images of Toutatis - December 13, 2012 - The Planetary Society
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ a b "JPL Close-Approach Data: C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)". 2014-02-09 last obs (arc=493 days w/619 obs). Retrieved 2013-02-19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Grossman, Lisa (6 December 2013). "Fiercest meteor shower on record to hit Mars via comet". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 2013-12-12.