List of minor planets and comets visited by spacecraft

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

The comparative sizes of the first eight asteroids that were visited by spacecraft
Number of minor planets and comets visited by spacecraft


List of minor planets visited by spacecraftEdit

Since the 1990s, a total of 16 minor planets – various asteroids, dwarf planets, and Kuiper belt objects – 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, four asteroids have been imaged by spacecraft at distances too large to resolve features (over 100,000 km), and are labeled as such.

Minor planet Space probe
Name Image Dimensions
(km)
(a)
Discovery
year
Name Closest approach Remarks
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.
4 Vesta   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 120 × 100 × 75
(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 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 66 × 48 × 46
(58 km)
1885 NEAR Shoemaker 1997 1,212 49.5 Flyby; largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft at the time.
307 Nike 54.96 1891 Pioneer 10 1972 8,800,000 320,232 Distant incidental flyby.
433 Eros 34 × 11 × 11
(17 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 18.2 × 10.5 × 8.9
(12.2 km)
1916 Galileo 1991 1,600 262 Flyby; first asteroid visited by a spacecraft.
2685 Masursky 10.744 1981 Cassini–Huygens 2000 1,600,000 297840 Distant incidental flyby.
2867 Šteins 4.6 1969 Rosetta 2008 800 302 Flyby; first asteroid visited by the ESA.
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 4.0 1942 Stardust 2002 3,079 1230 Flyby
9969 Braille 2.2 × 0.6
(1.6 km)
1992 Deep Space 1 1999 26 12.7 Flyby; followed by flyby of Comet Borrelly; failed to image it during closest approach, only taking images 14,000 km from the asteroid.
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.
101955 Bennu 0.490 1999 OSIRIS-REx 2020 landed[2] landed Arrived on 3 December 2018; entered lowest orbit on 12 June 2019; smallest object to be orbited by spacecraft and closest ever orbit;[3][4] touchdown on 20 October 2020 to collect sample.
132524 APL 2.5 2002 New Horizons 2006 101,867 81493 Distant incidental flyby.
134340 Pluto 2,376 1930 New Horizons 2015 12,500 10.5 Flyby; first trans-Neptunian object visited, most distant object visited by a spacecraft (at the time of the visit).
162173 Ryugu 0.865 1999 Hayabusa2 2019 landed landed Rendezvoused with asteroid from June 2018 to November 2019. Successful touchdowns to collect a sample in February and July 2019.[5] Three landers and an explosive impactor successfully deployed to the surface.[6] Returned dust samples to Earth in December 2020.[7]
486958 Arrokoth 36 × 18 × 10 2014 New Horizons 2019 3,500 350 Flew by Arrokoth (nicknamed Ultima Thule) on 1 January 2019, currently farthest object to be visited by a spacecraft.
Unnamed asteroid[8] .8 Pioneer 10 1972 8,851,392 22,128,480 Distant incidental flyby.
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 spacecraftEdit

Comet Space probe
Name Image Dimensions
(km)
(a)
Discovery
year
Name Closest approach Remarks
year in km in radii(b)
Giacobini–Zinner 2 1900 ICE 1985 7,800 7,800 first flyby of comet
Halley 15×9 Known
since
1759

(Precovered to 240 BCE)
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
ICE 1986 31,000,000 5,647,000 distant flyby
Grigg–Skjellerup 2.6 1902 Giotto 1992 200 154 flyby
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[9]
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 landed landed first landing on a comet (blasted a crater)
Stardust 2011 181 57.9 flyby; imaged the crater created by Deep Impact
Hartley 2 1.4 1986 EPOXI
(was Deep Impact)
2010 700 1,000 flyby; smallest comet visited
Churyumov–Gerasimenko 4.1×3.3×1.8 1969 Rosetta 2016 landed landed first orbiter of comet (November 2014); impacted surface as of 2016; OSIRIS captured image with 11 cm/px-resolution in Spring 2015[10]
Philae
(Rosetta's lander)
2014 landed landed 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 cometsEdit

Comet C/2013 A1 passed close by planet Mars in October 2014, closer than the Moon is to Earth.[11] As of early 2014 it was calculated to pass as close as 0.00087 AU (130,000 km; 81,000 mi).[11] This was so close that the event was deemed dangerous to spacecraft in orbit around Mars.[12] 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 visitsEdit

List of minor planets targeted for spacecraft visitationEdit

NASA's Lucy spacecraft is scheduled to tour several Jupiter trojans and one main-belt asteroid between 2025 and 2033.[13]

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.[14]
617 Patroclus 141 1906 Lucy NASA 2033 Binary Jupiter trojan, Trojan camp, 5th-largest Jupiter trojan[13]
3200 Phaethon 5 1983 DESTINY+ JAXA 2028 Rock comet and parent body of Geminids meteor shower[15]
3548 Eurybates 72 1973 Lucy NASA 2027 Jupiter trojan with satellite, Greek camp[13]
11351 Leucus 42 1997 Lucy NASA 2028 Jupiter trojan, Greek camp, a slow rotator[13]
15094 Polymele 21 1999 Lucy NASA 2027 Jupiter trojan, Greek camp[13]
21900 Orus 53 1999 Lucy NASA 2028 Jupiter trojan, Greek camp[13]
(35107) 1991 VH 1.04 1991 Janus NASA 2026 Binary near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo group; secondary payload of the Psyche launch[16]
52246 Donaldjohanson 3.9 1981 Lucy NASA 2025 main belt asteroid and member of the Erigone family[17]
65803 Didymos 0.8 1996 DART / LICIA NASA/ASI 2022 Binary near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo group; kinetic impact to test asteroid deflection[18][19]
(98943) 2001 CC21 0.7 2001 Hayabusa2 JAXA 2026 Near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo group; extended mission target[20]
(153591) 2001 SN263 2.6 2001 ASTER AEB 2022 Triple near-Earth asteroid system of the Amor group[21]
(175706) 1996 FG3 1.69 1996 Janus NASA 2026 Binary near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo group; secondary payload of the Psyche launch
469219 Kamoʻoalewa 0.041 2016 ZhengHe CNSA 2025 co-orbital near-Earth asteroid sample return.[22]
1991 VG 0.005–0.012 1991 NEA Scout NASA 2022 Near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo group; 2-year cruise and slow flyby
1998 KY26 0.030 1998 Hayabusa2 JAXA 2031 Near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo group; extended mission target[20]
311P/PANSTARRS 0.48 2013 ZhengHe CNSA 2032 main-belt comets orbiting.[23] [24]
(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.)

ProposalsEdit

PastEdit

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


Key
spacecraft failure
mission planning decisions
mission cancellation
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[25]
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[26]
2530 Shipka 12.4[27] July 9, 1978 Rosetta 2007 Secondary target; changed for better trajectory[25]
2703 Rodari 9[28] March 29, 1979 Rosetta 2007 Target in early mission planning,[when?] but not chosen[25]
3352 McAuliffe 2–5 February 6, 1981 Deep Space 1 1998 Target changed due to launch postponement
3840 Mimistrobell 5.2[29] October 9, 1980 Rosetta 2007 Target changed[25]
4015 Wilson–Harrington 4 November 19, 1949 Deep Space 1 1999 Target changed due to launch postponement
4015 Wilson–Harrington 4 November 19, 1949 Hayabusa Mk2 2022 Mission cancelled[citation needed]
4660 Nereus ~1 February 28, 1982 NEAR 1997 Abandoned target[citation needed]
4660 Nereus ~1 February 28, 1982 NEAP 1997 Mission cancelled
4660 Nereus ~1 February 28, 1982 Hayabusa 2002 Target changed due to launch postponement
4979 Otawara 5.5 August 2, 1949 Rosetta 2007 Target changed due to launch postponement[25]
(5604) 1992 FE 0.6 March 26, 1992 OSIRIS-REx 2018 Secondary target abandoned in 2010 during early mission planning[citation needed]
(10302) 1989 ML 0.6 June 29, 1989 Hayabusa 2002 Target changed due to launch postponement
(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[30]

FutureEdit

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
2 Pallas 512 km 1779 NASA Launch: 2022
Flyby: 2024
Athena, a proposed flyby of Pallas
50 Virginia 99.8 km 1857 NASA Launch: 2020s
Flyby: 2020s
MANTIS, a flyby proposal of 14 asteroids the largest being 50 Virginia.
2060 Chiron 271 km 1977 NASA Launch: 2026
Flyby: 2030s
Centaurus, a flyby proposal of 2060 Chiron and one other centaur.
10199 Chariklo 330 km 1997 NASA Camilla, a mission concept for a flyby and impactor
65803 Didymos 170 m 1996 ESA–NASA Launch: 2023 AIDA, a proposed asteroid impactor and orbiter.[31]
99942 Apophis 370 m 2004 CNSA Launch: ~2022 Flyby[32]
(138971) 2001 CB21 2001 NASA Flyby: 2022 Potential flyby during transit by DART spacecraft.[19]
(172034) 2001 WR1 660 m 2001 JAXA Flyby: 2023 Potential mission extension of Hayabusa2 spacecraft.[33]
(175706) 1996 FG3 1,550 m 1996 CNSA Launch: ~2022 Sample-return[32]
67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko 4.1×3.3×1.8 km 1969 NASA Launch: 2024 CONDOR, a proposed asteroid sample-return mission.[34] 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.[35]
88P/Howell 4.4 km 1981 NASA Launch: 2024 CORSAIR, a proposed comet sample-return mission.[36] Not selected for launch.
169P/NEAT 1871 CNSA Launch: ~2022 Flyby[32]
Trojan asteroids 1906 JAXA Launch: 2026 OKEANOS, a proposed multiple flyby mission to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids using solar sail propulsion.[37]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Chang'e 2 images of Toutatis". Planetary.org.
  2. ^ "OSIRIS-REx Cruises Over Site Nightingale During Final Dress Rehearsal". asteroidmission.org. NASA. Retrieved 13 August 2020.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ "NASA'S OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Arrives at Asteroid Bennu". NASA. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ "NASA's OSIRIS-REx Mission Breaks Another Orbit Record". NASA. 13 June 2019. Retrieved 22 June 2019.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ Rincon, Paul (22 February 2019). "Hayabusa-2: Japan spacecraft touches down on asteroid". BBC News. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
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  11. ^ a b "C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)". JPL Close-Approach Data. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2013. last obs (arc=493 days w/619 obs)
  12. ^ Grossman, Lisa (6 December 2013). "Fiercest meteor shower on record to hit Mars via comet". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013.
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  21. ^ De Brum, A G V.; Da Cruz, F. C. (2017). "Reviewed plan of the ALR, the laser rangefinder for the ASTER deep space mission to the triple asteroid 2001-SN263". Journal of Physics: Conference Series. 911: 012016. doi:10.1088/1742-6596/911/1/012016.
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