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June 13, 1983: Pioneer 10 Leaves the Inner Solar System

In the world of space probes, Pioneer 10 is a bit of a marvel having outlived it’s mission and working ten times longer than NASA ever anticipated.

Originally intended to communicate with NASA for roughly 2 years (long enough to collect information about our solar system) Pioneer 10 continued to transmit data back to Earth for decades–until 1997 when the signal became weak enough that it could no longer transmit usable data . After 1997 the probe was used by the Deep Space Network to practice locating deep space radio signals. The last contact with Pioneer 10 was January 23, 2003. Currently the probe is drifting towards the star Adebaran in the constellation Taurus and will arrive there is roughly two millions years–carrying a set of gold plates depicting life on earth.

Pioneer 10 [via Wired]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/13/11

Comments (8)

  1. jim

    too cool.

  2. jim

    so many answers i want about what’s actually out there that we’ll never know in our lifetime :(

  3. xana452

    Ya, that plauqe shouldnt confuse other intelligent life at all… 0.0

  4. George

    What happens if Pioneer meets Viger?

  5. Fred

    Do you mean Aldebaran located about 65 light years away in the zodiac constellation of Taurus ?
    I think Adebaran is an Islamic web site.

  6. Anak

    @ Fred:

    Take time to research star names and you will be amazed at how many have an Arabic origin.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Arabic_star_names

  7. Snert

    That gold plaque it’s packing has s recording of “Johnny BeGoode” by Chuck Berry. I wonder who at NASA picked that song.

  8. Forrest Charnock

    The decision on what to bring was made by a very large committee headed by Carl Sagan.
    As with most of N.A.S.A.’s projects the motivating factor was primarily the religious belief that there is no creator God and therefore life began by spontaneous generation . Darwin’s Bulldog Thomas Huxley renamed sg abiogenesis in 1870. The term sg had come to mean simply life from non-life with no intelligent agent involved as the idea of mice from rotting grain had been dismissed long before Luis Pasteur set out to disprove evolution. The so called reasoning is that if life evolved on earth it must have elsewhere and we can either find evidence for this religious belief in space or at least keep saying one day we will. Of course true logic would say that if such an unlikely event ever occurred the odds of it happening many times is even farther past the mathematical level of absurdity which is 1 to the 50th.
    Sadly the science was secondary.
    The most amazing prediction in the history of astronomy since the time of Newton was Dr. Russell Humphey’s prediction that the magnetic field of Uranus would be far younger than believed. .In the case of Uranus the measurements from V2 fell inside his predictions margin of error and was 100k times stronger than was believed . This is what science is all about , finding evidence to support a theory. The odds of this being a coincidence far exceed the limit of absurdity which says something will not happen in a supposed 30 ba history of the universe. In the case of Neptune his figures and those of the secularists were similar as far as the age {strength} of the magnetic field but there many glaring differences in which cases he was correct and the secularist way off.
    The sad part of all this to people who love science is that the prevailing religion among scientists, atheism/humanism ,is not considered a bias at all and any scientific conclusions whatsoever made by those who hold the Bible as truth , no matter how well documented , are dismissed out of hand for completely religious reasons. This cheats the public that paid the billions these projects cost and degrades the integrity of those who practice science.
    Dr. Humphrey’s predictions should be the most famous aspect of the Voyager 2 mission but far more people can tell you that Chuck Berry is on the gold plate.
    http://www.icr.org/article/beyond-neptune-voyager-ii-supports-creation/

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