Vega 1 visits Halley

Vega 1The Soviet Union’s unmanned space probe Vega 1 makes its closest approach to the nucleus of Halley’s Comet, a little over 5,000 miles away (a closer flight path is taken by its twin, Vega 2). Information gathered in the earliest stages of the encounter is shared with the European Space Agency, whose Giotto unmanned probe will make a much closer examination of Halley. Vega 1 registers an immense number of impacts from dust particles, but sustains no serious damage in close proximity to the comet; after several days of observations, Vega 1 is allowed to fall into an orbit around the sun.