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Twenty-five years ago, ESA made its mark in deep space. A small spacecraft swept to within 600 km of Halley's comet. The Giotto probe was nearly destroyed by the encounter but what it saw changed our picture of comets forever.
Published: 11 March 2011
On the night of 13 March 1986 the Giotto spacecraft passed within 600 km of the core of comet 1P/Halley. Launched eight months earlier on 2 July 1985, Giotto was the first spacecraft to visit a comet's nucleus and represented ESA's first deep space mission.
Published: 13 March 2006
Almost exactly 15 years ago, during the night of 13/14 March 1986, ESA's Giotto spacecraft made history by obtaining the first close-up pictures ofa comet's black, icy nucleus.After surviving a battering from grains of comet dust, Giotto went on to become the first spacecraft to visit a second comet. The flyby of Comet Grigg-Skjellerup in July 1992 is still the closest encounter ever achievedwith one of these cosmic icebergs.
Published: 10 April 2001
Exactly 15 years after the intrepid Giotto spacecraft swept past the nucleus of Halley's Comet, ESA scientist Gerhard Schwehm shared his memories of past triumphs while looking forward to new revelations from the Rosetta mission.
Published: 13 March 2001
On 13/14 March 1986, the European Space Agency's Giotto spacecraft obtained the first close-up pictures of a comet nucleus during its close flyby of Halley's Comet. An historic second comet encounter followed on 10 July 1992 when Giotto flew within 200 km of Comet Grigg-Skjellerup.
Published: 28 September 1999
ESA's deactivated Giotto spacecraft will perform its second Earth flyby in the early hours of 1 July 1999, 14 years since its launch on 2 July 1985 and five years after its previous return to Earth's vicinity on 2 July 1990. Scientists estimate that it will sweep past approximately 220,000 km (just over half the Earth-Moon distance). The flyby coincides with a press briefing in London, on ESA's next cometary mission, Rosetta, which will be held later the same day.
Published: 30 June 1999
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