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Missions to Astroids: Past, Present and Future

The following table lists all missions to Astroids, including those that failed, starting with the most recent. The table is colour coded to reflect the lead country or space agency, and missions are listed by launch date. The RPIF, here at UNB holds data and images from many of the NASA led missions.

Any questions or comments please Contact PASSC.

Red - USSR or Russian led missions


Blue - NASA led missions


Purple - Japanese Space Agency led missions


Green - European Space Agency led missions


Yellow - China National Space Administration led missions


Orange - Indian Space Research Organization


Launch Date Mission Success Type Instruments Goal Database


Hayabusa 2

In progress Sample return Electric Delta-V Earth Gravity Assist technique Rendezvous with asteroid Ryugu (1993 Ju3) and return the sample.

No data collection has been returned

Estimated date: late 2020

09/2007 Dawn In progress (so far Success) Orbiter

-High-gain antenna

-Low grain antenna

-Star tracker

-Framing cameras

-Visible and infrared mapping spectrometer

-Gamma ray and neutron detector

-Solar array Ion thruster

Mission Design:

-Orbit the asteroids 4 Vesta and 1 Ceres Scientific


-Characterize the asteroids’ internal structure, density, shape, size, composition and mass

-Study thermal history, size of the core, role of water in asteroid evolution

-Determine corresponding meteorites found on Earth with these bodies

Final Goal:

-Understand the conditions and processes present at the solar system’s earliest epoch and the role of water content and size in planetary evolution.



Rosetta In progress (so far successful) Probe & Lander Exploration robot- Phillae Lander

-Study the origin of comets (the relationship between cometary and interstellar materials and its implications with regard to the origin of the solar system)

-Determine dynamic properties, surface morphology and composition.

-Determine chemical, physical, mineralogical and isotropic compositions of volatiles

-General surface morphology and composition.

2003/05 Hayabusa Success Sample return

AMICA (Asteroid Multiband Imaging Camera)

-Near-IR spectrometer

-X-ray spectrometer


-Collect a surface sample of material from small asteroid25143 Itokawa

-Technology demonstration mission

-Detailed study of the asteroid’s shape, spin state, topography, color, composition, density, photometric and polarimetric properties, interior and history

2001/08 Genesis Success Sample Return

-SARISA (Surface Analysis by Resonance Ionization of Sputtered Atoms)

-Mass Spectrometry (secondary ion mass spectrometry, gas source mass spectrometry, resonance ionization mass spectrometry, etc.)

-Radiochemical Neutron Activation Analysis

Primary Objective:

-Capture samples of solar wind particles and return them to Earth

Science Objective:

-Obtain precise measurements of solar isotopic and elemental abundances


Stardust /  New Exploration of Tempel 1 (NExT)

Success Sample return

-Navigation Camera (NAVCAM)

-Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA)

-Dust Flux Monitor Instrument (DFMI)

-Stardust Sample Collection (SSC)

-Dynamic Science Experiment (DSE)

Primary Objective:

-Collect samples (at least 1000 analyzable particles of diameter>15microns) of dust and volatiles from the coma of the comet through flyby comet P/Wild 2 and return the samples to Earth

Secondary Objectives:

-Collect 100 interstellar particles of diameter >0.1 micron

-Obtain 65 images of the Wild 2 nucleus at resolutions of at least 67 microradians/pixel  as well as images of the Wild 2 coma

-Perform in situ compositional analysis of cometary particles within the coma

Tertiary Objectives:

-Perform in situ compositional analysis of interstellar grains, interplanetary dust and other cosmic particles

-Collect Wild2 coma volatiles

-Determine Wild 2 coma dust flux and size distribution

-Measure integrated dust influence, large particle momentum and opportunistic estimate of the upper limit of the comet’s mass

-Obtain dust flux profiles through Wild 2’s coma

1998/10 Deep Space 1 (DS1) Success Probe

-Miniature integrated camera-spectrometer (MICAS)

-Plasma Experiment for Planetary Exploration (PEPE)

-Ion propulsion System (IPS)

-Diagnostic Subsystem (IDS)

The primary goal of the DS1 is to test a dozen new technologies (technology demonstration probe). However, the spacecraft successfully flew by the Mars-crossing near-Earth asteroid 9969 Braille, and comet Borrelly. They flybys produced images and data that are considered as some of the best that are ever collected. Yes
1997/10 Cassini In Progress (Orbit was successful in 2004) Probe & Orbiter

-Radar mapper

-CCD imaging system

-Visible/infrared mapping spectrometer-

-Composite infrared spectrometer

-Cosmic dust analyzer

-Plasma spectrometer

-Ultraviolet imaging spectrograph

-Magnetospheric imaging instrument


-Ion/neutral mass spectrometer

-Determine the three dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the Saturn ring

-Determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and geological history

-Determine the nature and origin of the dark materials on Iapetus’ (third largest natural satellite of Saturn) leading hemisphere

-Measure the three dimensional structure and dynamical behavior of the magnetosphere

-Study the dynamic behavior of Saturn’s atmosphere at cloud level

-Study the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazes

-Characterize Titan’s surface on a regional scale


Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shouemaker

Success (detailed study- failure since communi-cation ended in late 2002)

Orbiter & Lander

-Near infrared spectrometer. X-ray/gamma ray spectrometer

-MSI Multispectral cameras including CCD imaging detector

-NLR laser rangefinder

-MAG magnetometer

-Return data on bulk properties, composition, mineralogy, morphology, internal mass distribution and magnetic field of 433 Eros

-Study regolith properties, interaction with the solar wind, possible activities and the spin state

1989/10 Galileo Success Orbiter & atmos-pheric probe


-UV spectrometer and extreme UV spectrometer

-Magnetometer. Plasma detector

-Plasma wave spectrometer

-Photopolarimeter- radiometer

-Solid state imaging

-Radio science: celestial mechanics


-Helium abundance detector

-Atmospheric structure instrument

-Neutral mass spectrometer

-Net-flux radiometer


-Lightning and radio emission detector

-Energetic particle investigation.

Main body:

-Propellant system

-Radioisotope thermal generations (RTG)

-Science booms

-High-gain antenna (3.25-10.5rmp)

Despun section:

- Electric motor (dual spin attitude control system)

-The ultimate goal of the mission. Investigate the circulation and dynamics of the Jovian atmosphere

-Investigate the upper Joivan atmosphere

-Characterize the morphology, geology (composition and distribution of surface mineral investigation) and physical state of the Galilean satellites

-Determine the gravitational and magnetic fields and dynamic properties of the Galilean satellites

-Study the atmosphere, ionosphere and extended gas clouds of the Galilean satellites

-Study the interaction of the Jovian magnetosphere with the Galilean satellites




PASSC Director: John Spray
Data Manager: Data Manager

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University of New Brunswick
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