List of active Solar System probes

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Artist's concept of Cassini 's orbit insertion around Saturn
Space probes operational as of December 2016

This is a list of active space probes which have escaped Earth orbit. It includes lunar space probes, but does not include space probes orbiting at the Sun–Earth Lagrangian points (for these, see List of objects at Lagrangian points). A craft is deemed "active" if it is still able to transmit usable data to Earth (whether or not it can receive commands).

The craft are further grouped by mission status – "en route", "mission in progress" or "mission complete" – based on their primary mission. For example, though Voyager 1 is still contactable en route to the heliopause, it is listed as "mission complete" because its primary task of studying Jupiter and Saturn has been accomplished. Once a probe has reached its first primary target, it is no longer listed as "en route" whether or not further travel is involved.

En route[edit]

Launched: 3 December 2014 | Destination: 162173 Ryugu | Arrival: July 2018 | Institution: Japan JAXA
Lander probe: MASCOT and MINERVA-II
Subprobe: PROCYON
5 May 2018' | Destination: Elysium Planitia | Arrival: November 2018 | Institution: United States NASA
Launched: 8 September 2016 | Destination: 101955 Bennu | Arrival: August 2018 | Institution: United States NASA

Missions in progress[edit]

Current location of the main probe:


  • ARTEMIS P1/P2 are studying the effect of the solar wind on the Moon. Originally launched as Earth satellites, they were later repurposed and moved to lunar orbit.
Launched: February 17, 2007 | Destination: Moon | Arrival: July 2011 | Institution: United States NASA
  • Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is engaged in lunar mapping intended to identify safe landing sites, locate potential resources on the Moon, characterize the radiation environment, and demonstrate new technology.
Launched: 18 June 2009 | Destination: Moon | Arrival: 23 June 2009 | Institution: United States NASA


  • Akatsuki The first Japanese Venusian probe. Also known as Planet-C and Venus Climate Orbiter, Akatsuki failed to enter Venusian orbit in December 2010. It continued to function and entered Venus orbit in 2015.[1][2]
Launched: 20 May 2010 | Destination: Venus | Arrival: 7 December 2015 | Institution: Japan JAXA
Subprobes: IKAROS and Shin'en


Launched: 7 April 2001 | Destination: Mars | Arrival: 24 October 2001 | Institution: United States NASA
  • Mars Express: Mars orbiter designed to study the planet's atmosphere and geology, search for sub-surface water, and deploy the Beagle lander. Mission extended until at least 31 December 2014.[4]
Launched: 2 June 2003 | Destination: Mars | Arrival: 25 December 2003 | Institution: Not the esa logo.png ESA
Lander: Beagle 2 [mission failed; contact lost at separation but found in 2015 on surface];
  • Lander: Opportunity Rover landed on Meridiani Planum. Expected to last 90 Martian days (sols), it continues to function effectively after 5120 sols. Its twin, Spirit Rover, explored an area on the other side of the planet, but became stuck in soft soil May 1, 2009, and communication was lost March 22, 2010 (sol 2210).
Launched: 10 June 2003 | Destination: Mars | Arrival: 25 January 2004 | Institution: United States NASA
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is the second NASA satellite orbiting Mars. It is specifically designed to analyze the landforms, stratigraphy, minerals, and ice of the red planet.
Launched: 12 August 2005 | Destination: Mars | Arrival: 10 March 2006 | Institution: United States NASA
  • Lander: Curiosity rover is searching for evidence of organic material on Mars, monitoring methane levels in the atmosphere, and engaging in exploration of the landing site at Gale Crater.
Launched: 26 November 2011 | Destination: Mars | Arrival: 6 August 2012 | Institution: United States NASA
  • Mangalyaan is the first Indian interplanetary space probe. It was successfully inserted into orbit of Mars on 24 September 2014.
Launched: 5 November 2013 | Destination: Mars | Arrival: September 2014 | Institution: India ISRO
  • MAVENMars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution.
Launched: 18 November 2013 | Destination: Mars | Arrival: September 2014 | Institution: United States NASA
  • Trace Gas Orbiter (ExoMars 2016) arrived safely at Mars on 19 Nov 2016 and is scheduled to use atmospheric braking for some months before commencing data collecting operations.
Launched: 14 March 2016 | Destination: Mars | Arrived: 19 October 2016 | Institution: Not the esa logo.png ESA
Lander: Schiaparelli (crashed upon landing attempt)

Asteroids and comets[edit]

Launched: 27 September 2007 | Destination: Vesta | Vesta arrival: 16 July 2011 |
Left Vesta: 5 September 2012 | Destination: Ceres | Arrival: 6 March 2015 | Institution: United States NASA

Heliocentric orbit[edit]

Launched: 1 October 2010 | Destination: Moon | Arrival: 6 October 2010 |
Left Moon: 8 June 2011 | Destination: L2 Lagrangian point | Arrived: 25 August 2011 |
Left L2 Lagrangian point: April 2012 | Destination: 4179 Toutatis | Arrived: 13 December 2012 |
Left 4179 Toutatis: 13 December 2012 | Destination: heliocentric orbit | Institution: China CNSA

Outer Solar System[edit]

Launched: 5 August 2011 | Destination: Jupiter | Arrival: 4 July 2016 | Institution: United States NASA
  • New Horizons is the first spacecraft to study Pluto up close, and ultimately the Kuiper Belt. It is the fastest artificially-accelerated object and will be the fifth probe to leave the solar system.
Launched: 19 January 2006 | Destination: Pluto, Charon | Arrival: 14 July 2015 |
Left Charon: 14 July 2015 | Destination: 2014 MU69 | Arrival: 1 January 2019 | Institution: United States NASA

Completed missions[edit]

New mission in progress[edit]

  • Voyager 1 is currently the farthest man-made object from Earth, as well as the first object to leave the heliosphere and cross into interstellar space. As of November 2017 it has a distance from the sun of about 140 astronomical units (AU)[5] (21 billion kilometers, or 0.002 light years), and it will not be overtaken by any other current craft. It was originally tasked with investigating Jupiter and Saturn, and the moons of these planets. Its continuing data feed offered the first direct measurements of the heliosheath and the heliopause. In August 2012, Voyager 1 became the first human built spacecraft to enter interstellar space. It is hoped that Voyager 1 will continue operating until at least 2020.
Launched: 5 September 1977 | Destination: Jupiter & Saturn | Arrival: January 1979 | Institution: United States NASA
Primary Mission Completion: November, 1980 | Current Trajectory: entered interstellar space August 2012
  • Voyager 2 has not yet left the solar system, but will become one of the first five probes to do so eventually. Its mission to study all four gas giants was one of NASA's most successful, yielding a wealth of new information. As of November 2017 it is some 116 AU from the sun (17.34 billion kilometers)[5], and it is hoped that it will continue to operate until at least 2020. As with Voyager 1, scientists are now using Voyager 2 to learn what the solar system is like beyond the heliosphere.
Launched: 20 August 1977 | Destination: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune | Arrival: 9 July 1979 | Institution: United States NASA
Primary Mission Completion: August 1989 | Current Trajectory: in the heliosheath

New missions under consideration[edit]

No future missions[edit]

  • Pioneer 6, launched in 1965, is the oldest functioning probe (if still operating). Contact was last attempted 8 December 2000 to celebrate its thirty-fifth anniversary, and the attempt was successful.[6] Like the three craft which superseded it, it took measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays.
Launched: 16 December 1965 | Destination: heliocentric orbit | Institution: United States NASA
Mission Completion: ? | Current Trajectory: heliocentric orbit
  • Pioneer 7 was last contacted 31 March 1995; no attempt has been made since, and this probe may or may not be operational.
Launched: 17 August 1966 | Destination: heliocentric orbit | Institution: United States NASA
Mission Completion: ? | Current Trajectory: heliocentric orbit
  • Pioneer 8 was last contacted on 22 August 1996; no attempt has been made since, and this probe may or may not be operational.
Launched: 8 November 1967 | Destination: heliocentric orbit | Institution: United States NASA
Mission Completion: ? | Current Trajectory: heliocentric orbit
  • ICE contact with the probe was lost on September 16, 2014. It is unknown whether contact can be reestablished because the probe's exact orbit is uncertain.
Launched: 12 August 1978 | Destination: L2 Lagrangian point | Institution: United States NASA
Mission Completion: 1997 | Current Trajectory: heliocentric orbit
  • Giotto approached within 600 kilometers of Halley's Comet on its flyby mission, and survived some particulate impact on the inbound flight to capture scientific data and stunning images of the comet's nucleus. Its multicolor camera was subsequently destroyed, but the probe remained otherwise functional. Its mission completed, deactivation commands were transmitted on 15 March 1986. Awakened four years later on 2 July, it studied the comet Grigg-Skjellerup as it approached within 200 kilometers eight days later, and was again deactivated on the 23rd.
Launched: 2 July 1985 | Destination: Comet Halley | Arrival: 14 March 1986 | Institution: Not the esa logo.png ESA
Mission Completion: 14 March 1986 | Current Trajectory: heliocentric orbit
  • Genesis returned a capsule with a solar wind sample to Earth in 2004. The rest of the probe was put into a parking orbit near Earth's L2 point.
Launched: 8 August 2001 | Destination: complex orbit | Arrival: ? | Institution: United States NASA
Mission Completion: 2004 | Current Trajectory: heliocentric orbit near Earth L2 point

Recently ended[edit]

  • Rosetta is orbiting the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. On November 12, 2014, a lander was successfully deployed[7] for further investigation. Mission ended on 30 September 2016, when the probe landed onto the comet's surface.[8]
Launched: 2 March 2004 | Destination: 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko | Arrival: 6 August 2014 | Institution: Not the esa logo.png ESA
Lander Probe: Philae
  • ExoMars Schiaparelli EDM lander, demonstration lander for Mars. Deployed from TGO on October 16, 2016, after a seven-month journey from Earth, and crash landed on October 19, 2016. Returned 80% of EDL test data transmitted during descent but crashed on landing.
Launched: March 14, 2016 (Earth); October 16, 2016 (TGO) | Destination: Mars | Arrival: October 19, 2016 | Institution: Not the esa logo.png ESA
  • The Cassini orbiter was studying Saturn and its moons after passing Venus and Jupiter and deploying the Huygens landing probe to Titan. It was primarily investigating Saturn's rings, its magnetosphere, and the geologic composition of its satellites; the mission ended on 15 September 2017 when the craft was crashed into Saturn.
Launched: 15 October 1997 | Destination: Saturn | Arrival: 1 July 2004 | Crashed: 15 September 2017 | Institution: United States NASA + Not the esa logo.png ESA + Italy ASI


  1. ^ "Crippled space probe bound for second chance at Venus". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" Inserted Into Venus' Orbit". Japan aerospace exploration agency. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "ESA Science & Technology: Mars Express". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  5. ^ a b JPL.NASA.GOV. "Where are the Voyagers – NASA Voyager". Retrieved 2017-11-14. 
  6. ^ "Solar System Exploration: Missions: By Name: P: Pioneer 6". Solar System Exploration. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "European Spacecraft Lands on Comet in Historic Space Feat". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Mission complete: Rosetta's journey ends in daring descent to comet". ESA. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.