List of minor planets and comets visited by spacecraft
List of minor planets visited by spacecraft
Since the 1990s, a total of 13 minor planets – currently all of them are asteroids and dwarf planets – have been visited by space probes. Note that moons (not directly orbiting the Sun), comets and planets are not minor planets and thus are not included in the table below.
In addition to the listed objects, three asteroids have been imaged by spacecraft at distances too large to resolve features (over 100,000 km), and are hence not considered as "visited". Asteroid 132524 APL was imaged by New Horizons in 2006 at a distance of 101,867 km, 2685 Masursky by Cassini in 2000 at a distance of 1,600,000 km, and 307 Nike by Pioneer 10 in 1972 at a distance of 8,800,000 km. The Hubble Space Telescope, a spacecraft in Earth orbit, has imaged several large asteroids, including 2 Pallas and 3 Juno.
|Minor planet||Space probe|
|year||in km||in radii (b)|
|0.42||first "close up" picture of Ceres taken in December 2014; probe entered orbit in March 2015; first dwarf planet visited by a spacecraft, largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft|
|0.76||space probe broke orbit on 5 September 2012 and headed to Ceres; first "big four" asteroid visited by a spacecraft, largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft at the time|
|21 Lutetia||120×100×80||1852||Rosetta||2010||3,162||64.9||flyby on 10 July 2010; largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft at the time|
|243 Ida||56×24×21||1884||Galileo||1993||2,390||152||flyby; discovered Dactyl; first asteroid with a moon visited by a spacecraft, largest asteroid visited by spacecraft at the time|
|253 Mathilde||66×48×46||1885||NEAR Shoemaker||1997||1,212||49.5||flyby; largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft at the time|
|433 Eros||34×11×11||1898||NEAR Shoemaker||1998–2001||0||0||1998 flyby; 2000 orbited (first asteroid studied from orbit); 2001 landing; first asteroid landing, first asteroid orbited by a spacecraft, first near-Earth asteroid (NEA) visited by a spacecraft|
|951 Gaspra||18.2×10.5×8.9||1916||Galileo||1991||1,600||262||flyby; first asteroid visited by a spacecraft|
|2867 Šteins||4.6||1969||Rosetta||2008||800||302||flyby; first asteroid visited by the ESA|
|4179 Toutatis||4.5×~2||1934||Chang'e 2||2012||3.2||0.70||flyby; closest asteroid flyby, first asteroid visited by a Chinese probe|
|9969 Braille||2.2×0.6||1992||Deep Space 1||1999||26||12.7||flyby; followed by flyby of Comet Borrelly; failure, missed it during flyby|
|25143 Itokawa||0.5×0.3×0.2||1998||Hayabusa||2005||0||0||landed; returned dust samples to Earth in 2010 - first sample return mission from asteroid; smallest asteroid visited by a spacecraft, first asteroid visited by a non-NASA spacecraft|
|134340 Pluto||2,370||1930||New Horizons||2015||12,500||10.5||flyby; first trans-Neptunian object visited, most distant object visited by a spacecraft|
List of comets visited by spacecraft
|year||in km||in radii (b)|
|Giacobini–Zinner||2||1900||ICE||1985||7,800||7,800||first flyby of comet|
|Giotto||1986||596||108||flyby; first direct images of a comet nucleus|
|Borrelly||8×4×4||1904||Deep Space 1||2001||2,171||814||flyby; closest approach in September 2001 when probe entered the comet's coma|
|Wild 2||5.5×4.0×3.3||1978||Stardust||2004||240||113||flyby; first sample return mission from comet to Earth (2006)|
|Tempel 1||7.6×4.9||1867||Deep Impact||2005||500||80||flyby; delivered an impactor|
|Deep Impact's impactor vehicle||2005||0||0||first landing on a comet (blasted a crater)|
|Stardust||2011||181||57.9||flyby; imaged the crater created by Deep Impact|
(was Deep Impact)
|2010||700||1,000||flyby; smallest comet visited|
|first orbiter of comet (November 2014); in orbit as of 2015; OSIRIS captured image with 11 cm/px-resolution in Spring 2015|
|2014||0||0||first soft landing on a comet (November 2014)|
Spacecraft visited by comets
Comet C/2013 A1 passed close by Mars in October 2014, closer than the Moon is to Earth. As of early 2014 it was calculated to pass as close as 0.00087 AU (130,000 km; 81,000 mi). This was so close that the event was deemed dangerous to spacecraft in orbit around Mars. 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.
List of minor planets targeted for spacecraft visitation
The following table lists minor planets that are planned to be visited by spacecraft.
|2014 MU69||25–45||June 26, 2014||New Horizons||USA||2019||Flyby – 1 January 2019|
|65803 Didymos||~1 (+.15)||April 11, 1996||AIDA||EU||2022||Proposal|
|101955 Bennu||~0.5||September 11, 1999||OSIRIS-REx||USA||2020||Future planned landing|
|162173 Ryugu||~1||May 10, 1999||Hayabusa 2||Japan||2018||Orbit expected June 2018 – December 2019. Several landers and sample collecting touchdowns planned.|
List of minor planets formerly targeted for spacecraft visitation
Former targets (were at one time proposed as a target).
|Siwa, 140140 Siwa||103||October 13, 1874||Rosetta||2007||abandoned target|
|Hamburga, 449449 Hamburga||86||October 31, 1899||CRAF||1998||mission cancelled|
|Geographos, 16201620 Geographos||5.1×1.8||September 14, 1951||Clementine||1995||abandoned target|
|van Albada, 20192019 van Albada||n.a.||September 28, 1935||NEAR||1998||abandoned target|
|Shipka, 25302530 Shipka||n.a.||July 9, 1978||Rosetta||2007||abandoned target|
|Rodari, 27032703 Rodari||n.a.||March 29, 1979||Rosetta||2007||abandoned target|
|McAuliffe, 33523352 McAuliffe||2–5||February 6, 1981||Deep Space 1||1998||abandoned target|
|Mimistrobell, 38403840 Mimistrobell||n.a.||October 9, 1980||Rosetta||2007||abandoned target|
|Wilson–Harrington, 40154015 Wilson–Harrington||4||November 19, 1949||Deep Space 1
|abandoned target, also a comet
|Nereus, 46604660 Nereus||~1||February 28, 1982||NEAR
|Otawara, 49794979 Otawara||5.5||August 2, 1949||Rosetta||2007||abandoned target|
|(10302) 1989 ML||n.a.||June 29, 1989||Hayabusa||2002||abandoned target|
|(163249) 2002 GT||n.a.||April 3, 2002||Deep Impact||2020||communications with spacecraft lost|
|(185851) 2000 DP107||~0.8||February 29, 2000||PROCYON||2016||abandoned target, ion engine failure |
- Chang'E 2 images of Toutatis – December 13, 2012 – The Planetary Society
- "Deep Space 1 – NSSDC/COSPAR ID: 1998-061A". NASA. 26 August 2014. Retrieved July 2015.
- "Rosetta Spacecraft Sees Its Shadow on a Comet (Photo)". Space.com. 5 March 2015.
Rosetta flew just 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) from Comet 67P's surface, resulting in a resolution of 4.3 inches (11 centimeters) per pixel [for OSIRIS].
- "JPL Close-Approach Data: C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)". 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
last obs (arc=493 days w/619 obs)
- 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.
- Talbert, Tricia. "NASA’s New Horizons Team Selects Potential Kuiper Belt Flyby Target". www.nasa.gov. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
- Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) study.
- Miriam Kramer (26 March 2013). "Asteroid Deflection Mission AIDA Set To Crash Two Spacecraft Into Space Rock In 2022". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 September 2014.