List of missions to minor planets

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List of missions to minor planets is a listing of spaceflight missions to minor planets, which are category of astronomical body that excludes planets, moons and comets, but orbit the Sun. Most missions to minor planets have been to asteroids or dwarf planets.

Spacecraft visits to minor planets have mostly been flybys, and have ranged from dedicated missions to incidental flybys and targets of opportunity for spacecraft that have already completed their missions. The first spacecraft to visit an asteroid was Pioneer 10, which flew past an unnamed asteroid on 2 August 1972; a distant incidental encounter while the probe was en route to Jupiter. The first dedicated mission was NEAR Shoemaker, which was launched in February 1996, and entered orbit around 433 Eros in February 2000, having first flown past 253 Mathilde. NEAR was also the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid, surviving what was intended to be an impact with Eros at 20:01 on 12 February 2001 at the planned end of its mission. As a result of its unexpected survival, the spacecraft's mission was extended until 1 March to allow data to be collected from the surface.

Many minor planets are in two rings:

  • Asteroid belt, between 2-3 AU
  • Kuiper belt, between 30-60 AU
Spacecraft Launch date[1] Targeted minor planet Mission Outcome Remarks Carrier rocket[2]
Pioneer 10 2 March 1972 Unnamed asteroid[3] Flyby N/A Distant incidental flyby en route to Jupiter; flyby occurred on 2 August 1972 with closest approach of 8.85 million kilometers (5.5 million miles). Atlas SLV-3C Centaur-D Star-37E
307 Nike N/A Distant incidental flyby en route to Jupiter; flyby occurred on 2 December 1972 with closest approach of 8.8 million kilometers (5.4 million miles). Atlas SLV-3C Centaur-D Star-37E
Galileo 18 October 1989 951 Gaspra Successful Incidental flyby en route to Jupiter; flyby occurred on 29 October 1991 with closest approach of 1,604 kilometres (997 mi) at 22:37 UTC[4] Space Shuttle Atlantis
STS-34 / IUS
243 Ida Successful Incidental flyby en route to Jupiter, discovered Dactyl; flyby occurred on 28 August 1993 with closest approach of 2,410 kilometres (1,500 mi) at 16:51:59 UTC[4]
Clementine
(DSPSE)
25 January 1994 1620 Geographos Flyby Spacecraft failure Attitude control failure; failed to leave geocentric orbit after first phase of mission exploring the Moon. Flyby had been planned for August 1994[5] Titan II(23)G
NEAR Shoemaker
(Discovery 1)
17 February 1996 253 Mathilde Successful Closest approach 1,212 kilometres (753 mi) at 12:56 UTC on 27 June 1997[6] Delta II 7925
433 Eros Orbiter Mostly successful Aborted burn three days before arrival at Eros resulted in failure to enter orbit, instead flew past at 3,827 kilometres (2,378 mi) at 18:41:23 on 23 December 1998. Insertion reattempted successfully on 14 February 2000. Impacted asteroid at 20:01 on 12 February 2001 at end of mission, but survived impact and continued to operate on surface until 1 March.[6]
Cassini–Huygens 15 October 1997[1] 2685 Masursky Flyby N/A Distant incidental flyby en route to Saturn; closest approach 1.5 million kilometres (0.9 million miles) at 09:58 UTC on 23 January 2000[7] Titan IV(401)B Centaur-T[8]
Deep Space 1 24 October 1998 4015 Wilson–Harrington[9] Flyby Spacecraft failure Spacecraft was unable to reach the asteroid due to ion engine operation being suspended while a problem with the probe's star tracker was investigated[10] Delta II 7326
9969 Braille Partial failure Closest approach 28.3 kilometres (17.6 mi) at 04:46 UTC[10] on 29 July 1999. Intended to pass within 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) but this was not achieved due to a computer failure; poor-quality images returned as a result.[11] Flyby added to mission following loss of ability to reach Wilson–Harrington
Stardust
(Discovery 4)
7 February 1999 5535 Annefrank[12] Successful Closest approach of 3,079 kilometres (1,913 mi) at 04:50:20 UTC on 2 November 2002 Delta II 7426
Hayabusa
(MUSES-C)
9 May 2003 25143 Itokawa Orbiter/lander
Sample return
Partial failure Reached Itokawa on 12 September 2005, landed briefly on 19 and 25 November but sampler failed to operate, missed return window due to communications outage, finally returned to Earth on 13 June 2010 M-V
MINERVA Lander Failure Deployed from Hayabusa on 12 November 2005; Accidentally released while Hayabusa was moving away from Itokawa; reached escape velocity and drifted off into heliocentric orbit
Rosetta 2 March 2004 2867 Šteins Flyby Successful Closest approach 800 kilometres (500 mi) on 5 September 2008 Ariane 5G+
21 Lutetia Successful Closest approach 3,162 kilometres (1,965 mi) on 10 July 2010
67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Lander Successful Rendezvous 6 August 2014, orbit on 10 September 2014

Philae(lander) landed on 12 November 2014, Rosetta itself landed on 30 September 2016

Deep Impact
(Discovery 7)
12 January 2005 (163249) 2002 GT Flyby Spacecraft failure
(Extended mission)
Extended mission (EPOXI), flyby was expected in 2020, but communication with the spacecraft was lost in August 2013 Delta II 7925
New Horizons
(New Frontiers 1)
19 January 2006 132524 APL Flyby N/A Incidental flyby en route to Pluto, closest approach 101,867 kilometres (63,297 mi) at 04:05 UTC on 13 June 2006 Atlas V 551
134340 Pluto and its five moons. Flyby Successful Flyby occurred on 14 July 2015
486958 Arrokoth Successful Flyby occurred on 1 January 2019
Dawn
(Discovery 9)
27 September 2007 4 Vesta Orbiter Successful Orbited Vesta from 16 July 2011 to 5 September 2012, before departing for Ceres Delta II 7925H
1 Ceres Successful Arrived in 2015
Chang'e-2 1 October 2010 4179 Toutatis Flyby Successful Flyby on 13 December 2012, closest approach 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) Long March 3C
Hayabusa2 3 December 2014 162173 Ryugu Orbiter/lander
Sample return
Successful Arrived in 2018, landed in February and July 2019

Sample returned to Earth on 5 December 2020 UTC

H-IIA 202
HIBOU Lander Successful Deployed from Hayabusa2 on 21 September 2018
OWL Successful Deployed from Hayabusa2 on 21 September 2018
MINERVA II-2 Spacecraft failure Deployed from Hayabusa2 on 2 October 2019; lander failed prior to deployment, but was deployed anyway to observe the effects of gravity on it as it descended to the surface.
MASCOT Successful Deployed from Hayabusa2 on 3 October 2018; operated for 17 hours
SCI impactor Impactor Successful Deployed from Hayabusa2 on 5 April 2019
DCAM-3 Orbiter Successful Deployed from Hayabusa2 on 5 April 2019; observed SCI impact
PROCYON (185851) 2000 DP107 Flyby Spacecraft failure Flyby had been planned for 2016; cancelled due to ion engine failure in heliocentric orbit[13]
OSIRIS-REx
(New Frontiers 3)
8 September 2016 101955 Bennu Orbiter
Sample return
Operational Orbiting 101955 Bennu since 31 December 2018 Atlas V 411
Lucy
(Discovery 13)
2021 52246 Donaldjohanson Flyby Planned 20 April 2025 Atlas V 401
3548 Eurybates Planned 12 August 2027
15094 Polymele Planned 15 September 2027
11351 Leucus Planned 18 April 2028
21900 Orus Planned 11 November 2028
617 Patroclus Planned 2 March 2033
Psyche
(Discovery 14)
2022 16 Psyche Orbiter Planned 2026[14] Falcon Heavy
ZhengHe 2024 469219 Kamoʻoalewa Orbiter/lander
Sample return
Planned 2025[15] Long March 3B
DESTINY+ 2023 3200 Phaethon Flyby Planned 2028[16] Epsilon

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  2. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Interplanetary Probes". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  3. ^ "45 Years Ago, Pioneer 10 First to Explore Jupiter". It [pioneer 10] passed within 5.5 million miles of an unnamed 0.5-mile diameter asteroid on Aug. 2
  4. ^ a b "Solar System Exploration - Galileo". NASA. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Clementine". NASA. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Solar System Exploration - NEAR Shoemaker". NASA. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Cassini". NASA. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  8. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Cassini". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  9. ^ Wilson–Harrington is catalogued as both a comet and an asteroid
  10. ^ a b "Solar System Exploration - Deep Space 1". NASA. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  11. ^ Rayman, Marc D.; Varghese, Philip (2001). "The Deep Space 1 Extended Mission" (PDF). Acta Astronautica. 48 (5–12): 693–705. Bibcode:2001AcAau..48..693R. doi:10.1016/s0094-5765(01)00044-3.
  12. ^ "STARDUST Successfully Images Asteroid Annefrank During Dress Rehearsal". NASA. 4 November 2002. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Due to ion engine failure, PROCYON will not fly by an asteroid".
  14. ^ Foust, Jeff (28 February 2020). "Falcon Heavy to launch NASA Psyche asteroid mission". SpaceNews. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  15. ^ Foust, Jeff (5 August 2020). "China is moving ahead with lunar south pole and near-Earth asteroid missions". SpaceNews. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  16. ^ Sommer, M.; Krüger, H.; Srama, R.; Hirai, T.; Kobayashi, M.; Arai, T.; Sasaki, S.; Kimura, H.; Moragas-Klostermeyer, G.; Strub, P.; Lohse, A.-K. (21 September 2020). Destiny+ Dust Analyzer – Campaign & timeline preparation for interplanetary & interstellar dust observation during the 4-year transfer phase from Earth to Phaethon. Europlanet Science Congress 2020. Copernicus Publications. Retrieved 27 September 2020.