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

By Jason Fitzpatrick on June 13th, 2011

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 a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/13/11
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