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14:52 icelefant -ice-: Mission Giotto |ESA
Giotto was ESA’s first deep-space mission. In 1986, it passed closest to the nucleus of a comet, Halley. Its images showed for the first time the shape of a comet nucleus and found the first evidence of organic material in a comet.
Giotto was originally put forward as part of a joint NASA/ESA comet mission, but at a later stage the United States pulled out. Then ESA took the bold decision to proceed alone on this once-in-a-lifetime venture. There was little leeway for delays if this fly-by opportunity was missed, Halley’s Comet would disappear into the depths of the Solar System, to be hidden from view for the next 75 years!