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 "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)|
|1 Ceres||952||1801||Dawn||2015–2018||35||0.07||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|
|1852||Rosetta||2010||3,162||64.9||flyby on 10 July 2010; largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft at the time|
|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|
|1885||NEAR Shoemaker||1997||1,212||49.5||flyby; largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft at the time|
|1898||NEAR Shoemaker||1998–2001||landed||landed||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|
|1916||Galileo||1991||1,600||262||flyby; first asteroid visited by a spacecraft|
|4179 Toutatis||2.45||1934||Chang'e 2||2012||3.2||0.70||flyby; closest asteroid flyby, first asteroid visited by a Chinese probe|
|2867 Šteins||4.6||1969||Rosetta||2008||800||302||flyby; first asteroid visited by the ESA|
|1992||Deep Space 1||1999||26||12.7||flyby; followed by flyby of Comet Borrelly; failure, missed it during flyby|
|1998||Hayabusa||2005||landed||landed||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|
|162173 Ryugu||~0.900||1999||Hayabusa2||2018-present||0.055||0.13||expected to stay at asteroid from July 2018 to December 2019. Several touchdowns planned to collect samples. Two landers successfully deployed to the surface.  Two further landers and an explosive impactor will also be deployed.|
|101955 Bennu||0.492||1999||OSIRIS-REx||2018-present||80||163||Arrived on 3 December 2018|
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|
|Churyumov–Gerasimenko||4.1×3.3×1.8||1969||Rosetta||2016||0||0||first orbiter of comet (November 2014); impacted surface as of 2016; 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.
|16 Psyche||186||1852||Psyche||NASA||2026||Future planned orbiting.|
|617 Patroclus||141||1906||Lucy||NASA||2033||Jupiter trojan, Trojan camp, binary system with satellite, 5th-largest Jupiter trojan|
|3200 Phaethon||5||1983||DESTINY+||JAXA||2026||Rock comet and parent body of Geminids meteor shower|
|3548 Eurybates||72||1973||Lucy||NASA||2027||Jupiter trojan, Greek camp|
|11351 Leucus||42||1997||2028||Jupiter trojan, Greek camp, a slow rotator|
|15094 Polymele||21||1999||2027||Jupiter trojan, Greek camp|
|21900 Orus||53||1999||2028||Jupiter trojan, Greek camp|
|52246 Donaldjohanson||4||1981||2025||inner asteroid belt|
|65803 Didymos||1||1996||DART / LICIA||NASA/ASI||2022||Kinetic impact to test asteroid deflection|
|(486958) 2014 MU69||35||2014||New Horizons||NASA||2019||En route; flyby expected on 1 January 2019|
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Former targets (were at one time proposed as a target).
|2 P/Encke||4.8||January 17, 1786||CONTOUR||1998||spacecraft lost while leaving Earth orbit|
|6 P/d'Arrest||3.2||June 28, 1851||CONTOUR||2008||spacecraft lost while leaving Earth orbit|
|73 P/Schwassmann–Wachmann||1.1 (before breakup)||May 2, 1930||CONTOUR||2006||spacecraft lost while leaving Earth orbit|
|140 Siwa||103||October 13, 1874||Rosetta||2007||target changed due to launch postponement|
|145 Adeona||151||June 3, 1875||Dawn||2016||abandoned target (not seriously considered)|
|449 Hamburga||86||October 31, 1899||CRAF||1998||mission cancelled|
|1620 Geographos||5.1×1.8||September 14, 1951||Clementine||1995||mission failed before retargeting|
|2019 van Albada||7.5-9.4||September 28, 1935||NEAR||1998||abandoned target|
|2101 Adonis||0.6||February 12, 1936||Vega 2||1987||secondary target insufficient fuel|
|2530 Shipka||12.4||July 9, 1978||Rosetta||2007||secondary target changed for better trajectory|
|2703 Rodari||9||March 29, 1979||Rosetta||2007||target in early mission planning[when?] but not chosen|
|3352 McAuliffe||2–5||February 6, 1981||Deep Space 1||1998||abandoned target|
|3840 Mimistrobell||5.2||October 9, 1980||Rosetta||2007||target changed|
|4015 Wilson–Harrington||4||November 19, 1949||Deep Space 1
|abandoned target, also a comet|
mission cancelled
|4660 Nereus||~1||February 28, 1982||NEAR
abandoned target
|4979 Otawara||5.5||August 2, 1949||Rosetta||2007||target changed due to launch postponement|
|(10302) 1989 ML||0.6||June 29, 1989||Hayabusa||2002||abandoned target|
|(163249) 2002 GT||0.35-0.5||April 3, 2002||Deep Impact||2020||communications with spacecraft lost|
|(185851) 2000 DP107||~0.8||February 29, 2000||PROCYON||2016||ion engine failure in heliocentric orbit|
The following table lists minor planets that are proposed to be visited by spacecraft missions that have not yet been approved.
|99942 Apophis||370 m||2004||CNAS||Launch: ~2022||Flyby|
|2002 EX11||1871||CNAS||Launch: ~2022||Flyby|
|(175706) 1996 FG3||1,550 m||1996||CNAS||Launch: ~2022||Sample-return|
|(172034) 2001 WR1||660 m||2001||JAXA||Flyby: 2023||Potential mission extension of Hayabusa2 spacecraft.|
|(138971) 2001 CB21||2001||NASA||Flyby: 2022||Potential flyby during transit by DART spacecraft.|
|67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko||4.1×3.3×1.8 km||1969||NASA||Launch: 2024||CONDOR, a proposed asteroid sample-return mission. Not selected for launch.|
|88P/Howell||4.4 km||1981||NASA||Launch: 2024||CORSAIR, a proposed comet sample-return mission. Not selected for launch.|
|67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko||4.1×3.3×1.8 km||1969||NASA||Launch: 2024||CAESAR, a proposed comet sample-return mission.|
|65803 Didymos||170 m||1996||ESA-NASA||Launch: 2023||AIDA, a proposed asteroid impactor and orbiter.|
|Trojan asteroids||1906||JAXA||Launch: 2026||OKEANOS, a proposed multiple flyby mission to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids using solar sail propulsion.|
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- "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].
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last obs (arc=493 days w/619 obs)
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- 2530 Shipka, JPL Small-Body Database Browser
- Moore, Patrick, The Data Book of Astronomy, Jan 2000, page 139
- 3840 Mimistrobell, JPL Small-Body Database Browser
- "Due to ion engine failure, PROCYON will not fly by an asteroid".
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- Squyres, Steve (2018). CAESAR: Project Overview (PDF). 18th Meeting of the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group. 17-18 January 2018. Ames Research Center, California. Lunar and Planetary Institute.
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