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Photos: Asteroids in Deep Space

Asteroids Visited by Spacecraft

Emily Lakdawalla/Ted Stryk

Only a few near-Earth objects would fit NASA's proposed guidelines for a manned mission to an asteroid.

Giant Asteroid Vesta

NASA

The giant asteroid Vesta, the brightest asteroid in the sky, will be very visible for the next two weeks. This image of Vesta was captured by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in 2012.

Asteroid 2005 YU55

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 7, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC), when the space rock was at 3.6 lunar distances, which is about 860,000 miles, or 1.38 million kilometers, from Earth.

Asteroid Jiggles Like a Jar of Mixed Nuts

Univ Tokyo/JAXA

Image of the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa. The boulder-free areas appear relatively smooth and are filled with small, uniformly sized particles.

Peek at Huge Asteroid Provides More Questions Than Answers

ESA

The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft took this image of the asteroid Lutetia during a flyby on July 10, 2010.

An Asteroid With Tails

NASA/ESA

Hubble Space Telescope view showing the dust tail of the "activated asteroid" P/2013 P5. Astronomers have recently spotted tails coming from the youngest-known fragmented asteroid pair in the solar system, a duo known as P/2016 J1.

An Asteroid and Its Moon

NASA/JPL

In the mid-1990s, the Galileo spacecraft, on its way to the Jupiter system, captured this mind-blowing image of asteroid 243 Ida and its moon, Dactyl.

See You Soon, Apophis Asteroid

UH/IA

The asteroid Apophis was discovered on June 19, 2004. It will fly within 18,300 miles of Earth on April 13, 2029, but poses little risk of impact.

Possible Asteroid Particles Found in Returned Space Probe

JAXA

Scientists have found small particles inside the sample container of the Japanese asteroid probe Hayabusa, though it remains to be seen if they are asteroid bits or contamination from Earth. Here, particles are visible in re-entry capsule's sample container in a photo taken through the window of JAXA's sealed curation facility on June 28, 2010. Full Story.

Mysterious Asteroid Unmasked By Space Probe Flyby

ESA

This photo of the asteroid Lutetia is one of the closest views ever of the asteroid. It was taken from a distance of about 80,000 km during a July 10, 2010 flyby by Europe's comet probe Rosetta. Full Story.

Battered Asteroid a Survivor From Solar System's Birth

ESA

The asteroid Lutetia at closest approach as seen by Europe's Rosetta spacecraft in July 2010. [Full Story]

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