Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, William M. Irvine, Daniele L. Pinti, Michel Viso

Giotto Spacecraft

  • Anny-Chantal Levasseur-RegourdEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_648


Comet, nucleus, coma, water, dust, organics, CHON, Giotto, Giotto Extended Mission, spacecraft, ESA, Halley, Grigg-Skjellerup


The Giotto spacecraft (Fig. 1), the first  ESA (European Space Agency) interplanetary probe, was designed to flyby  comet Halley. Launched on 2 July 1985 by an Ariane-1 rocket from Kourou, Giotto succeeded in approaching the  cometary nucleus to within 600 km on 14 March 1986. Through its first accurate images of a nucleus and in situ studies of gases and dust particles within a coma, the mission has revealed the complexity of comets. Afterwards, the Giotto spacecraft was re-oriented in order to study comet Grigg-Skjellerup, which was flown by on 10 July, 1992, at a nucleus distance in the 150–200 km range.
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References and Further Reading

  1. Balsiger H, Altwegg K, Geiss J (1995) D/H and 18O/16O ratio in the hydronium ion and in neutral water from in situ ion measurements in comet Halley. J Geophys Res 100:5827–5834ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UPMC Univ. Paris 6/LATMOS-IPSLParisFrance