In all geologic time, the responsibilities are on our generation ... including you ...

Giotto Probe to Halley's Comet

Halley's Comet is the first comet ever recorded in history, going back more than 2000 years and witnessed by different civilizations. It is the only comet which can be observed without a telescope or binoculars in modern times. Halley's Comet is observable by humans during its pass thru the inner solar system once every 75 years.

In 1980, the European Space Agency (ESA) proposed a spacecraft mission to Halley's Comet. The Giotto mission was actually a group of 5 spacecraft, called "the Halley Armada", with Giotto built by the European Space Agency (ESA), with launches coordinated with Vega 1 and Vega 2 from the Soviet Union, and the Japanese probes Sakigake and Suisei, the latter two being Japan's first spacecraft to leave Earth orbit into interplanetary space, Japan becoming the third country to do so. The United States initially intended to be a partner but NASA budget cuts put an end to that.

In 1985, Giotto launched from an ESA Ariane, the Japanese probes were launched from Japan, and the Russian probes launched from the Soviet Union. The Vega probes went past Venus to drop off landers and balloon explorers before diverting to Halley's Comet with a Venus gravity assist.

All probes encountered Halley's Comet, the Giotto and Vega probes making closer approaches than the Japanese probes. Giotto came within 600 km, the Vega spacecraft within 8000 to 9000 km, and the Japanese craft at 150,000 and 7 million km.

Images showed at least 3 outgassing jets on the side of the comet facing the sun. The jets consisted of approximately 80% water, 10% carbon dioxide, 2.5% methane and ammonia (CH4 and NH3), and the rest various hydrocarbons and other stuff. The comet itself was darker than coal, and the instruments determined that the surface was carbon rich. The dust ejected was thought to be finer than cigarette smoke, and consisted of two types. One was carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. The other was calcium, magnesium, iron, silicon, and sodium. The comet was found to be low density but there was a wide variation of estimates.

Several particles from the comet struck Giotto. One knocked out its multicolor camera, though it had already taken good photos which should have been its best. Another particle knocked off the orientation of the spacecraft, which took 30 minutes to re-establish so that it could communicate back to Earth.

After completing the encounter with Halley's Comet, Giotto went on an extended mission to fly by comet 26P/Grigg–Skjellerup in 1992, though with its camera knocked out, there was limited scientific gain. After that, Giotto was put back into hibernation mode and has not been reactivated since.

External links:

Giotto probe on wikipedia

Halley's Comet on wikipedia > Asteroids, Near Earth Objects (NEO) > Probes to Asteroids and NEOs > Giotto (Halleys Comet)


PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?

There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.

The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.

Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.

This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
  • It will create and secure a better future for your children and grandchildren.
  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

You can join us and volunteer to help out,

... or ...

If you're short on time, you can just donate:

The Permanent Space Development Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
If you would like to make a quick donation to our humanistic cause,
then please click on one of the buttons below (which go to PayPal).

... or by cryptocurrency (which is NOT tax deductible), you can donate into any of these wallets:





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Text by Mark Prado, Copyright © 1983-2021, All Rights Reserved.
Many website artistic design elements by Sam Fraser, Copyright © 1999-2021, All Rights Reserved.

Except where specifically stated otherwise,
Copyright © 1983-2021 by Mark Evan Prado, All Rights Reserved


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