NEAR Spacecraft, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid

NASA’s NEAR Shoemaker is the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid and to land on that.

Asteroids

Asteroids, also called minor planets, are small, rocky bodies that are leftover during the formation of planets about 4.5 billion years ago. Billions of such rocks exist in our solar system and majority of them concentrated in the main belt of asteroids between the planets Mars and Jupiter.

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Voyager 1 and Voyager 2| How NASA is still in contact?| UPSC

In 1977 NASA launched two missions Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 to study the outer planets and then go out from the solar system. In 2012, Voyager 1 reaches interstellar space and became the first human made object to enter interstellar space. The Interstellar space is the space between 2 stars. Voyager 1 reaches interstellar space after crossing Heliosphere. The heliosphere is the space around the sun in which the effect of plasma rays from the sun can be observed. So by crossing the heliosphere means the Voyager 1 has crossed the range of plasma rays from the sun.

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