A probe with a mission to encounter Halley’s Comet was launched on this day in history.
Giotto, a European Space Agency unmanned spacecraft, was launched into space on July 2nd, 1985. It was one of several probes from a variety of nations known as the Halley Armada, unmanned spacecraft that studied Halley’s Comet, which passes by Earth every 75 years or so.
Giotto’s encounter with Halley, in March of the next year, was a success, although some minor damage was suffered during the encounter. It analyzed the makeup of the comet’s tail, and made the closest approach to perhaps the most well-known comet.
Giotto would later fly back by Earth and then encounter another comet in 1992.