Close Encounters: The Most Dramatic Near-Earth Asteroid Missions

Introduction

Embark on a thrilling journey as we explore the most dramatic encounters with near-Earth asteroids, showcasing daring missions aimed at unlocking the mysteries of these celestial objects.

Asteroid Bennu

Delve into the OSIRIS-REx mission, which rendezvoused with the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, studying its composition and collecting a sample to return to Earth for analysis.

Asteroid Ryugu

Learn about Japan's Hayabusa2 mission, which successfully landed on the asteroid Ryugu, deploying rovers and collecting samples before returning to Earth.

Asteroid Itokawa

Explore the Hayabusa mission's encounter with asteroid Itokawa, overcoming numerous challenges to return a sample to Earth, providing invaluable insights.

Comet Wild 2

Witness the Stardust mission's close encounter with Comet Wild 2, capturing samples of cometary dust and returning them to Earth, shedding light on the formation of our solar system.

Asteroid Eros

Examine the NEAR Shoemaker mission's historic rendezvous with asteroid Eros, conducting detailed studies of its surface morphology.

Asteroid Toutatis

Discover China's Chang'e 2 mission's flyby of asteroid Toutatis, capturing detailed images and data of the irregularly shaped asteroid during its close approach.

Future Missions

Look ahead to future near-Earth asteroid missions, including NASA's DART mission to test asteroid deflection techniques and ESA's Hera mission to study the impact crater.

Conclusion

As we reflect on these dramatic close encounters with near-Earth asteroids, we gain a deeper understanding of these enigmatic celestial bodies.