List of active Solar System probes

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Space probes operational as of 2018

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]

  • InSight
  • OSIRIS-REx
    • Launched: 8 September 2016
    • Destination: asteroid 101955 Bennu
    • Scheduled arrival: December 2018
    • Institution: United States NASA[1]
  • Parker Solar Probe
    • Launched: 12 August 2018
    • Destination: low solar orbit, perihelion 6.9 Gm
    • Scheduled arrival: first observations December 2018; final Venus assist 6 November 2024
    • Institution: United States NASA

Missions in progress[edit]

Moon[edit]

  • Chang'e 5-T1
    • Mission: re-entry test for unmanned lunar sample return mission, plus several secondary experimental payloads
    • Launched: 23 October 2014
    • Destination: Moon
    • Arrival: 13 January 2015
    • Institution: China CNSA
  • ARTEMIS P1/P2
    • Mission: 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
    • Mission: 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

Venus[edit]

  • Akatsuki
    • Mission: 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.[2][3]
    • Launched: 20 May 2010
    • Destination: Venus
    • Arrival: 7 December 2015
    • Institution: Japan JAXA
    • Subprobes: IKAROS and Shin'en

Mars[edit]

The oldest active spacecraft for Mars is 2001 Mars Odyssey
  • 2001 Mars Odyssey
    • Mission: one of six currently active human-made Mars satellites. It is continuing its extended mission to map the surface of Mars and also acts as a relay for the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers.[4] Its name is a tribute to the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    • Launched: 7 April 2001
    • Destination: Mars
    • Arrival: 24 October 2001
    • Institution: United States NASA
  • Mars Express
    • Mission: Mars orbiter designed to study the planet's atmosphere and geology, search for sub-surface water, and deploy the Beagle 2 lander.[5] In 2017 the mission was extended until at least the end of 2020.[6]
    • 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
    • Mission: landed on Meridiani Planum. Expected to last 90 Martian days (sols), it continues to function effectively after 5260 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
    • Mission: 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
    • Mission: 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
    • Mission: 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)
    • Mission:
    • Launched: 14 March 2016
    • Destination: Mars
    • Arrived: 19 October 2016 (Mars orbit insertion), 21 April 2018 (final orbit)
    • Institution: Not the esa logo.png ESA
    • Lander: Schiaparelli (crashed upon landing attempt)

Asteroids and comets[edit]

Heliocentric orbit[edit]

  • Chang'e 2
    • Launched: 1 October 2010
    • First destination: Moon
    • Arrival: 6 October 2010
    • Left Moon: 8 June 2011
    • Second destination: Earth–Moon Lagrangian point L2
    • 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]

Montage of planets and some moons the two Voyager spacecraft have visited and studied, still active in the 2010s they are heading out into interstellar space returning data from newly explored distances
  • Juno
  • New Horizons
    • Mission: the first spacecraft to study Pluto up close, and ultimately the Kuiper Belt. It was the fastest spacecraft when leaving Earth and will be the fifth probe to leave the solar system.
    • Launched: 19 January 2006
    • Destination: Pluto and Charon
    • Arrival: 14 July 2015
    • Left Charon: 14 July 2015
    • Destination: 2014 MU69
    • Arrival: 1 January 2019
    • Institution: United States NASA
  • Voyager 1
    • Mission: 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. It 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)[7] (21 billion kilometers, or 0.002 light years), and it will not be overtaken by any other current craft. 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 and Saturn
    • Arrival: January 1979
    • Institution: United States NASA
    • Primary mission completion: November 1980
    • Current trajectory: entered interstellar space August 2012
  • Voyager 2
    • Mission: studying all four gas giants. This mission 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),[7] and it is hoped that it will continue to operate until at least 2020. It has not yet left the solar system, but will become one of the first five probes to do so eventually. 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 on an escape trajectory

Retired missions[edit]

  • Pioneer 6
    • Mission: measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays. Oldest functioning probe (if still operating). Contact was last attempted 8 December 2000 to celebrate its 35th anniversary, and the attempt was successful.[8]
    • Launched: 16 December 1965
    • Destination: heliocentric orbit
    • Institution: United States NASA
    • Mission completion: ?
    • Current trajectory: heliocentric orbit
  • Pioneer 7
    • Mission: measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays. 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
    • Mission: measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays. 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
    • Mission: studying the interaction between the solar wind and (1) the Earth's magnetosphere, (2) the tail of comet Giacobini-Zinner, (3) the tail of Halley's Comet. Contact with the probe was lost on 16 September 2014. It is unknown whether contact can be reestablished because the probe's exact orbit is uncertain.
    • Launched: 12 August 1978
    • Destination: halo orbit around Earth-Sun Lagrangian point L1
    • Institution: United States NASA
    • Mission completion: 1997
    • Current trajectory: heliocentric orbit
  • Giotto
    • Mission: flyby and observation of Halley's Comet and Comet Grigg-Skjellerup to capture scientific data and images of the nucleus. The multicolor camera was destroyed in the encounter with Halley, but the probe remained otherwise functional for the second encounter.
    • Launched: 2 July 1985
    • Destination: Comet Halley
    • Arrival: 14 March 1986
    • Institution: Not the esa logo.png ESA
    • Mission completion: 14 March 1986 (Halley), 10 July 1992 (Grigg-Skjellerup)
    • Current trajectory: heliocentric orbit
  • Genesis
    • Mission: solar wind sample return
    • Launched: 8 August 2001
    • Destination: halo orbit around Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L1
    • Arrival: 16 November 2001
    • Institution: United States NASA
    • Mission completion: sample capsule returned to Earth 8 September 2004; parachutes failed to open, some samples contaminated
    • Current trajectory (spacecraft bus): heliocentric orbit near Sun-Earth L2 point
Artist's concept of Cassini's orbit insertion around Saturn
  • Cassini–Huygens
    • Mission: Cassini orbiter studying Saturn and its moons after passing Venus and Jupiter; Huygens landing probe investigating Titan. Cassini primarily investigated Saturn's rings, its magnetosphere, and the geologic composition of its satellites.
    • Launched: 15 October 1997
    • Destination: Saturn
    • Arrival: 1 July 2004 (Saturn), 14 January 2005 (Titan)
    • Crashed: 15 September 2017
    • Institution: collaboration between United States NASA, Not the esa logo.png ESA and Italy ASI

Recently ended[edit]

  • Dawn
    • Mission: studying asteroid 4 Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres
    • Launched: 27 September 2007
    • Initial destination: Vesta
    • Vesta arrival: 16 July 2011
    • Left Vesta: 5 September 2012
    • Second destination: Ceres
    • Arrival: 6 March 2015
    • Institution: United States NASA
    • Mission completion: 1 November 2018, spacecraft ran out of hydrazine propellant
    • Current trajectory: in orbit around Ceres

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/osiris-rex/in-depth/
  2. ^ "Crippled space probe bound for second chance at Venus". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" Inserted Into Venus' Orbit". Japan aerospace exploration agency. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "ESA Science & Technology: Mars Express". European Space Agency. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  6. ^ "ESA Science & Technology: Green light for continued operations of ESA science missions". European Space Agency. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b JPL.NASA.GOV. "Where are the Voyagers – NASA Voyager". voyager.jpl.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  8. ^ "Solar System Exploration: Missions: By Name: P: Pioneer 6". Solar System Exploration. Retrieved 1 May 2015.