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Asteroid and Comet Spacecraft Missions

Over the years, NASA and other space agencies have targeted asteroids and comets in their spacecraft missions. Some missions were designed specifically to learn more about physical characteristics of asteroids and comets while others were able to view asteroids on their way to other planetary destinations (such as JPL's Galileo mission).

The following table shows specific asteroids and comets which have been, or will be, the targets of selected spacecraft missions. Each row represents an "encounter" event. Data are sorted by event-date. Past missions are shown with a dark-gray background, past events of current missions are shown with a blue background, future events are highlighted in green, and events of missions yet to be launched are shown in dark green.

Target Body Event Mission Details
type date name launch status
101955 Bennu (1999 RQ36) sample-return 2023 OSIRIS-REx 2016-Sep pre-launch
101955 Bennu (1999 RQ36) arrival 2019-Oct OSIRIS-REx 2016-Sep pre-launch
1 Ceres arrival 2015-Mar Dawn 2007-Sep-27 cruise
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko landing 2014-Nov Rosetta 2004-Mar-02 cruise
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko rendezvous 2014-Aug Rosetta 2004-Mar-02 cruise
4 Vesta departure 2012-Aug Dawn 2007-Sep-27 cruise
4 Vesta arrival 2011-Jul Dawn 2007-Sep-27 cruise
9P/Tempel 1 fly-by 2011-Feb-14 Stardust-NExT 1999-Feb-06 complete
103P/Hartley 2 fly-by 2010-Nov-04 EPOXI 2005-Jan-12 complete
21 Lutetia fly-by 2010-Jul-10 Rosetta 2004-Mar-02 cruise
25143 Itokawa (1998 SF36) sample-return 2010-Jun-13 Hayabusa
(MUSES-C)
2003-May-09 complete
2867 Steins (1969 VC) fly-by 2008-Sep-05 Rosetta 2004-Mar-02 cruise
25143 Itokawa (1998 SF36) departure 2007-Apr-25 Hayabusa
(MUSES-C)
2003-May-09 complete
81P/Wild 2 sample-return 2006-Jan-15 Stardust 1999-Feb-06 complete
25143 Itokawa (1998 SF36) arrival 2005-Sep-12 Hayabusa
(MUSES-C)
2003-May-09 complete
9P/Tempel 1 impact/fly-by 2005-Jul-04 Deep Impact 2005-Jan-12 complete
81P/Wild 2 fly-by 2004-Jan-02 Stardust 1999-Feb-06 complete
5535 Annefrank (1942 EM) fly-by 2002-Nov-02 Stardust 1999-Feb-06 complete
19P/Borrelly fly-by 2001-Sep-22 Deep Space 1 1998-Oct-24 complete
433 Eros (1898 DQ) rendezvous 2000-Feb-14 NEAR 1996-Feb-17 complete
9969 Braille (1992 KD) fly-by 1999-Jun-28 Deep Space 1 1998-Oct-24 complete
253 Mathilde fly-by 1997-Jun-27 NEAR 1996-Feb-17 complete
243 Ida fly-by 1993-Aug-28 Galileo 1989-Oct-18 complete
951 Gaspra (1916 S45) fly-by 1991-Oct-29 Galileo 1989-Oct-18 complete
1P/Halley fly-by 1986-Mar-14 Giotto 1985-Jul-02 complete
1P/Halley fly-by 1986-Mar-11 Sakigake 1985-Jan-07 complete
1P/Halley fly-by 1986-Mar-09 Vega 2 1984-Dec-21 complete
1P/Halley fly-by 1986-Mar-08 Suisei 1985-Aug-18 complete
1P/Halley fly-by 1986-Mar-06 Vega 1 1984-Dec-15 complete
21P/Giacobini-Zinner fly-by 1985-Sep-11 ISEE 3/ICE 1978-Aug-12 complete

The table above is arranged in reverse chronological order of event. Each row represents a single event for a given target asteroid or comet. Some targets have multiple events and thus have multiple entries in the table (e.g. 25143 Itokawa, with arrival, departure, and sample-return). The target small-bodies are hyperlinked to their small-body browser page and mission names are hyperlinked to their mission web-page (where available).

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