Comet Halley | Published:

First results from the Giotto Radio-Science Experiment

Nature volume 321, pages 355357 (15 May 1986) | Download Citation



Doppler and ranging measurements, using the radio signals of the Giotto spacecraft and taken during the encounter with comet Halley, reveal a definite deceleration of the spacecraft due to drag in the cometary atmosphere. The total change in the radial velocity of the spacecraft was measured to be 16.7 cm s−1, occuring over a time interval of 100 s and corresponding to a shift in Doppler frequency of 4.7 Hz. Using this velocity change, estimates of the total cometary mass striking the spacecraft range from 0.1 to 1 g.

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Author information


  1. Institut für Hoch- und Höchstfrequenztechnik, University of Bochum, FRG

    • P. Edenhofer
    •  & H. Buschert
  2. Radioastronomisches Institut, University of Bonn, FRG

    • M. K. Bird
    •  & H. Volland
  3. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA

    • J. P. Brenkle
    •  & P. B. Esposito
  4. Deutsche Forschungs- und Versuchsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DFVLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, FRG

    • H. Porsche


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