Giotto mission

related topics
{math, energy, light}
{ship, engine, design}
{acid, form, water}
{service, military, aircraft}
{church, century, christian}

Giotto was a European robotic spacecraft mission from the European Space Agency, intended to fly by and study Halley's Comet. On 13 March 1986, the mission succeeded in approaching Halley's nucleus at a distance of 596 kilometers. The spacecraft was named after the Early Italian Renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone. He had observed Halley's Comet in 1301 and was inspired to depict it as the star of Bethlehem in his painting Adoration of the Magi.

Contents

Mission

Originally a United States partner probe was planned that would accompany Giotto, but this fell through due to budget cuts at NASA. There were plans to have observation equipment on-board a Space Shuttle in low-Earth orbit around the time of Giotto's fly-by, but they in turn fell through with the Challenger disaster.

The plan then became a cooperative armada of five spaceprobes including Giotto, two from the Soviet Union's Vega program and two from Japan: the Sakigake and Suisei probes. The idea was for Japanese probes and the pre-existing American probe International Cometary Explorer to make long distance measurements, followed by the Russian Vegas which would locate the nucleus, and the resulting information sent back would allow Giotto to precisely target very close to the nucleus. Because Giotto would pass so very close to the nucleus ESA was mostly convinced it would not survive the encounter due to bombardment from the many high speed cometary particles. The coordinated group of probes became known as the Halley Armada.

The craft

The spacecraft was derived from the GEOS research satellite built by British Aerospace, and modified with the addition of a dust shield as proposed by Fred Whipple which comprised a thin (1  mm) aluminium sheet separated by a space and a thicker Kevlar sheet. The later Stardust spacecraft would use a similar Whipple shield. A mock up of the spacecraft resides at the Bristol Aero Collection hanger, at Kemble Airport, UK.

Full article ▸

related documents
Gyrocompass
Azimuth
Antihydrogen
Interstellar cloud
Right ascension
Planetary ring
Celestial coordinate system
Theory of relativity
Plum pudding model
Mariner 10
Adrastea (moon)
Wave impedance
Analemma
Principle of relativity
Intensity (physics)
Dioptre
Conservative force
Crookes radiometer
Mirror image
Apsis
Giant impact hypothesis
Quantum Hall effect
Nemesis (star)
Ampere
Cycloid
Electro-optic modulator
Hoag's Object
Rhea (moon)
Radiation pressure
Murray Gell-Mann