List of minor planets and comets visited by spacecraft

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The comparative sizes of the first nine asteroids that were visited by spacecraft

The following tables list all minor planets and comets that have been visited by spacecraft.

List of minor planets visited by spacecraft[edit]

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
Name Image Dimensions
(km)
(a)
Discovery
year
Name Closest approach Remarks
year in km in radii(b)
1 Ceres
Ceres - RC3 - Haulani Crater (22381131691) (cropped).jpg
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
4 Vesta Vesta full mosaic.jpg 529 1807 Dawn 2011–2012 200
approx.
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
Rosetta triumphs at asteroid Lutetia.jpg
120×100×80
(100 km)
1852 Rosetta 2010 3,162 64.9 flyby on 10 July 2010; largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft at the time
243 Ida
243 ida crop.jpg
56×24×21
(28 km)
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
(253) mathilde crop.jpg
66×48×46
(58 km)
1885 NEAR Shoemaker 1997 1,212 49.5 flyby; largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft at the time
433 Eros
Eros - PIA02923 (color).jpg
34×11×11
(23 km)
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
951 Gaspra
951 Gaspra.jpg
18.2×10.5×8.9
(12.2 km)
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;[1] closest asteroid flyby, first asteroid visited by a Chinese probe
5535 Annefrank
Stardust - Annefrank.jpg
4.0 1942 Stardust 2002 3,079 1230 flyby
2867 Šteins
2867 Šteins by Rosetta (reprocessed).png
4.6 1969 Rosetta 2008 800 302 flyby; first asteroid visited by the ESA
9969 Braille
PIA01345.jpg
2.2×0.6
(1.6 km)
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
(350 meters)
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
Nh-pluto-in-true-color 2x JPEG-edit.jpg
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. [2] Two further landers and an explosive impactor will also be deployed.
101955 Bennu
Bennuarrival.png
0.492 1999 OSIRIS-REx 2018-present 80 163 Arrived on 3 December 2018
Notes:
a A minor planet's dimensions may be described by x, y, and z axes instead of an (average) diameter due to its non-spherical, irregular shape.
b Closest approach given in multiples of the minor planet's mean radius
 ·  Default order of list: by the minor planet's designation, ascending.

List of comets visited by spacecraft[edit]

Comet Space probe
Name Image Dimensions
(km)
(a)
Discovery
year
Name Closest approach Remarks
year in km in radii(b)
Giacobini–Zinner
Comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner.jpg
2 1900 ICE 1985 7,800 7,800 first flyby of comet
Halley
Lspn comet halley.jpg
15×9 Known
since
at least
240 BC
Vega 1 1986 8,889 1,620 flyby
Vega 2 1986 8,030 1,460 flyby
Suisei 1986 151,000 27,450 distant flyby
Sakigake 1986 6,990,000 1,270,747 distant flyby
Giotto 1986 596 108 flyby; first direct images of a comet nucleus
Grigg–Skjellerup
Grigg-Skjellerup Eso9209a.jpg
2.6 1902 Giotto 1992 200 154 flyby
Borrelly
Comet Borrelly Nucleus.jpg
8×4×4 1904 Deep Space 1 2001 2,171 814 flyby; closest approach in September 2001 when probe entered the comet's coma[3]
Wild 2
Wild2 3.jpg
5.5×4.0×3.3 1978 Stardust 2004 240 113 flyby; first sample return mission from comet to Earth (2006)
Tempel 1
PIA02142 Tempel 1 bottom sharped.jpg
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
Hartley 2
Comet Hartley 2.jpg
1.4 1986 EPOXI
(was Deep Impact)
2010 700 1,000 flyby; smallest comet visited
Churyumov–Gerasimenko
Comet 67P on 19 September 2014 NavCam mosaic.jpg
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[4]
Philae
(Rosetta's lander)
2014 0 0 first soft landing on a comet (November 2014)
Notes:
(a) Due to a non-spherical, irregular shape, a comet's x, y, and z axes instead of an (average) diameter are often used to describe its dimensions.
(b) Closest approach given in multiples of the comet's (average mean) radius
 ·  List ordered in descending order by a comet's first visit

Spacecraft visited by comets[edit]

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.

Planned visits[edit]

List of minor planets targeted for spacecraft visitation[edit]

NASA's Lucy spacecraft is scheduled to tour several Jupiter trojans and one main-belt asteroid between 2025 and 2033.[7]

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

Name Diameter(a)
(km)
Year of
discovery
Spacecraft Agency Year of
visit
Notes
16 Psyche 186 1852 Psyche NASA 2026 Future planned orbiting.[8]
617 Patroclus 141 1906 Lucy NASA 2033 Jupiter trojan, Trojan camp, binary system with satellite, 5th-largest Jupiter trojan[7]
3200 Phaethon 5 1983 DESTINY+ JAXA 2026 Rock comet and parent body of Geminids meteor shower[9]
3548 Eurybates 72 1973 Lucy NASA 2027 Jupiter trojan, Greek camp[7]
11351 Leucus 42 1997 2028 Jupiter trojan, Greek camp, a slow rotator[7]
15094 Polymele 21 1999 2027 Jupiter trojan, Greek camp[7]
21900 Orus 53 1999 2028 Jupiter trojan, Greek camp[7]
52246 Donaldjohanson 4 1981 2025 inner asteroid belt[citation needed]
65803 Didymos 1 1996 DART / LICIA NASA/ASI 2022 Kinetic impact to test asteroid deflection[10][11]
(486958) 2014 MU69 35 2014 New Horizons NASA 2019 En route; flyby expected on 1 January 2019[12]
(a) given diameters are estimates
Note: asteroids that come to close enough to Earth can sometimes be observed, such as 4769 Castalia. (See List of asteroid close approaches to Earth.)

Proposals[edit]

Past[edit]

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

Name Diameter
(km)
Body Discovered Spacecraft Year Notes
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[13]
145 Adeona 151 June 3, 1875 Dawn 2016 abandoned target (not seriously considered)[citation needed]
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[14]
2530 Shipka 12.4[15] July 9, 1978 Rosetta 2007 secondary target changed for better trajectory[13]
2703 Rodari 9[16] March 29, 1979 Rosetta 2007 target in early mission planning[when?] but not chosen[13]
3352 McAuliffe 2–5 February 6, 1981 Deep Space 1 1998 abandoned target
3840 Mimistrobell 5.2[17] October 9, 1980 Rosetta 2007 target changed[13]
4015 Wilson–Harrington 4 November 19, 1949 Deep Space 1
Hayabusa Mk2
1999
2022
abandoned target, also a comet
mission cancelled[citation needed]
4660 Nereus ~1 February 28, 1982 NEAR
NEAP
Hayabusa
1997 abandoned target
mission cancelled
abandoned target[citation needed]
4979 Otawara 5.5 August 2, 1949 Rosetta 2007 target changed due to launch postponement[13]
(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[18]

Recent[edit]

The following table lists minor planets that are proposed to be visited by spacecraft missions that have not yet been approved.

Name Diameter Year of
discovery
Agency Proposed year Notes
99942 Apophis 370 m 2004 CNAS Launch: ~2022 Flyby[19]
2002 EX11 1871 CNAS Launch: ~2022 Flyby[19]
(175706) 1996 FG3 1,550 m 1996 CNAS Launch: ~2022 Sample-return[19]
(172034) 2001 WR1 660 m 2001 JAXA Flyby: 2023 Potential mission extension of Hayabusa2 spacecraft.[20]
(138971) 2001 CB21 2001 NASA Flyby: 2022 Potential flyby during transit by DART spacecraft.[11]
67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko 4.1×3.3×1.8 km 1969 NASA Launch: 2024 CONDOR, a proposed asteroid sample-return mission.[21] Not selected for launch.
88P/Howell 4.4 km 1981 NASA Launch: 2024 CORSAIR, a proposed comet sample-return mission.[22] 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.[23]
65803 Didymos 170 m 1996 ESA-NASA Launch: 2023 AIDA, a proposed asteroid impactor and orbiter.[24]
Trojan asteroids 1906 JAXA Launch: 2026 OKEANOS, a proposed multiple flyby mission to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids using solar sail propulsion.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chang'E 2 images of Toutatis".
  2. ^ Yoshimitsu, Tetsuo; Kubota, Takashi; Tsuda, Yuichi; Yoshikawa, Makoto. "MINERVA-II1: Successful image capture, landing on Ryugu and hop!". JAXA Hayabusa2 Project. JAXA. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Deep Space 1 – NSSDC/COSPAR ID: 1998-061A". NASA. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  4. ^ "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].
  5. ^ a b "JPL Close-Approach Data: C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)". 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2013-02-19. last obs (arc=493 days w/619 obs)
  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.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Levison, H. F.; Olkin, C.; Noll, K. S.; Marchi, S.; Lucy Team (March 2017). "Lucy: Surveying the Diversity of the Trojan Asteroids: The Fossils of Planet Formation" (PDF). 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Bibcode:2017LPI....48.2025L. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  8. ^ Chang, Kenneth (January 6, 2017). "A Metal Ball the Size of Massachusetts That NASA Wants to Explore". The New York Times. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Toyota, Hiroyuki; Nishiyama, Kazutaka; Kawakatsu, Yasuhiro (15 August 2017). "DESTINY+: Deep Space Exploration Technology Demonstrator and Explorer to Asteroid 3200 Phaethon" (PDF). Low-Cost Planetary Missions Conference. Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b Rivkin, Andy (27 September 2018). "Asteroids have been hitting the Earth for billions of years. In 2022, we hit back". Applied Physics Laboratory. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  12. ^ Talbert, Tricia. "NASA's New Horizons Team Selects Potential Kuiper Belt Flyby Target". www.nasa.gov. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d e Luigi Colangeli, Elena Mazzotta Epifani, Pasquale Palumbo, The New Rosetta Targets: Observations, Simulations and Instrument Performances, pp. 71-72, Springer Verlag, 2013.
  14. ^ Ulivi, Paolo; Harland, David M (2009). Robotic Exploration of the Solar System Part 2 Hiatus and Renewal. Praxis Publishing. pp. 90–92. ISBN 9780387789040.
  15. ^ 2530 Shipka, JPL Small-Body Database Browser
  16. ^ Moore, Patrick, The Data Book of Astronomy, Jan 2000, page 139
  17. ^ 3840 Mimistrobell, JPL Small-Body Database Browser
  18. ^ "Due to ion engine failure, PROCYON will not fly by an asteroid".
  19. ^ a b c China working on asteroid sample return mission; will study long-term projects. Andrew Jones, GB Times. |May 12, 2017.
  20. ^ Sarli, Bruno Victorino; Tsuda, Yuichi (September 2017). "Hayabusa 2 extension plan: Asteroid selection and trajectory design". Acta Astronautica. 138: 225–232. Bibcode:2017AcAau.138..225S. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2017.05.016. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  21. ^ COmet Nucleus Dust and Organics Return (CONDOR): a New Frontiers 4 Mission Proposal. (PDF) M. Choukroun, C. Raymond, M. Wadhwa. EPSC Abstracts. Vol. 11, EPSC2017-413, 2017. European Planetary Science Congress 2017.
  22. ^ CORSAIR (COmet Rendezvous, Sample Acquisition, Investigation, and Return): A New Frontiers Mission Concept to Collect Samples from a Comet and Return them to Earth for Study (PDF). S. A. Sandford, N. L. Chabot, N. Dello Russo, J. C. Leary, E. L. Reynolds, H. A. Weaver, D. H. Wooden. 80th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society 2017 (LPI Contrib. No. 1987).
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Cheng, A.F.; Michel, P.; Reed, C.; Galvez, A.; Carnelli, I. (2012). DART: Double Asteroid Redirection Test (PDF). European Planetary Science Congress 2012. EPSC Abstracts.
  25. ^ INVESTIGATION OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM DISK STRUCTURE DURING THE CRUISING PHASE OF THE SOLAR POWER SAIL MISSION. (PDF). T. Iwata, T. Okada, S. Matsuura, K. Tsumura, H. Yano, T. Hirai, A. Matsuoka, R. Nomura, D. Yonetoku, T. Mihara, Y. Kebukawa, M. ito, M. Yoshikawa, J. Matsu-moto, T. Chujo, and O. Mori. 49th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2018 (LPI Contrib. No. 2083).