LIONEL BRET / LOOK AT SCIENCES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LIONEL BRET / LOOK AT SCIENCES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Comet Halley spacecraft in 1986, artwork. Halley's Comet is a short-term comet, orbiting the Sun every 76 years. Several unmanned probes were launched for the 1986 visit. From left, these three are: Giotto, ICE (International Cometary Explorer) and Vega 1 and Vega 2 (originally part of the Venera program). Giotto was launched in July 1985, making its closest approach (596 kilometres) to the comet on 13 March 1986. ICE, launched in August 1978, did not make a close approach but was re-purposed to make observations from 28 million kilometres. The Vega probes (launched December 1984 to Venus) made observations from around 9000 kilometres away.
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