An Irish experiment is one of four on board a spacecraft that survived an encounter with Halley's comet.
Irish scientists achieve success with their experiment on board the Giotto spacecraft as it encounters Halley's comet. Only four of the ten experiments on board the Giotto survived the encounter with the comet.
The experiment was prepared by St Patrick's College Maynooth and funded by the National Board of Science and Technology. The experiment involved the study of particles in the environs of the comet. Following the success of the experiment the Irish scientists involved have been asked by the Russians to take part in another similar experiment on a mission to Mars planned for 1988/89. Speaking at a press conference in the Giotto Control Centre in Germany Dr Brian O'Donnell talks about the success of the project and the possibilities it has opened up for new experiments.
Also featured in this report is 16 year old Shane Donovan from Douglas Community School in Cork, who won the trip to the Giotto Control Centre at the Young Scientist Exhibition.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 March 1986. The reporter is Michael Ronayne.
At the time RTÉ received criticism for not broadcasting the event. There was an overtime ban at RTÉ and the transmission of the event ended at six minutes to midnight, shortly before the encounter occurred. Millions of viewers around the world were able to view computer print-out images of the comet's nucleus from the probe.