Jurgens and his colleagues expected to get high-resolution images because Mercury was near its closest
approach to Earth and the VLA telescopes had been arranged to form a particularly large radio "ear.
The third blast registered only faintly at the closest
stations, and scientists are analyzing the explosion to explain this surprising result.
Giotto seemed to be surviving the dust onslaught unscathed until about 2 seconds before its point of closest
approach, when it was suddenly dealt a blow -- whether by dust or chunk-sized rubble was initially unclear.
On the other hand, according to a different ESA document -- and there are researchers with this view too -- "it is not expected that the spacecraft will survive beyond the point of closest
approach to the comet.