In 1985, the European Space Agency, the USSR and Japan launched automatic space stations to study Halley’s Comet that was expected to appear the next year. We will say right away that Russian space probes, Vega 1 and Vega 2, observed the comet from a distance of 8.000 km, the Japanese failed in their calculations, and the Americans were the unluckiest of them all: their space probe exploded at launch. The European satellite Giotto was the only one that did not fail. It was for a reason that the station received the name of an artist who created his works in Padua and Florence on the cusp of the 13th and 14th centuries: in one of his paintings, we can see the comet that would be named after Halley 400 years later. And in the 20th century, Giotto managed to see the comet from the shortest distance possible: less than 600 km.
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