• Post category:Space Probes
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In our previous article, we discussed Pioneer 11, its need and working. Today we will discuss on Pioneer 11! A lot of things were similar between Pioneer 10 and 11. So, we will avoid discussing on that.

Pioneer 11

Quick Wiki Intro: Pioneer 11 (also known as Pioneer G) is a 259-kilogram (571 lb) robotic space probe launched by NASA on April 6, 1973, to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter and Saturn, solar wind and cosmic rays. Thereafter, Pioneer 11 became the second of five artificial objects to achieve the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System.

An artist's impression of a Pioneer spacecraft on its way to interstellar space
An artist’s impression of a Pioneer spacecraft on its way to interstellar space

New Understanding of Solar System

Pioneer 11 took striking pictures of Jupiter’s Red Spot, checked out the planet’s polar areas for the first time, and also found out the mass of Jupiter’s second-largest moon, Callisto.

NASA decided to shut down one instrument after Pioneer 11 left Jupiter. In April 1975, scientists turned off the micrometeoroid detector because it was sending out commands that not only were unnecessary, but also affecting the readings of other instruments on board.

With a helping hand from Jupiter’s gravity, Pioneer 11 soared toward Saturn. It was a nearly five-year wait until the spacecraft was able to get to the planet, some 930 million miles from Earth.

Photos of Saturn and Jupiter taken by Pioneer 11. Image Credits: NASA
Photos of Saturn and Jupiter taken by Pioneer 11. Image Credits: NASA

Current Status and Future

On January 30, 2019, Pioneer 11 was 100.84 AU (1.5085×1010 km; 9.374×109 mi) from the Earth and 100 AU (1.5×1010 km; 9.3×109 mi) from the Sun; and traveling at 11.241 km/s (40,470 km/h; 25,150 mph) (relative to the Sun) and traveling outward at about 2.37 AU per year.

Pioneer Plaque

Pioneer 10 and 11 both carry a gold-anodized aluminum plaque in the event that either spacecraft is ever found by intelligent lifeforms from other planetary systems. The plaques feature the nude figures of a human male and female along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft.

 The illustration on the Pioneer plaque and the actual plaque on Pioneer 11.
 The illustration on the Pioneer plaque and the actual plaque on Pioneer 11.
The illustration on the Pioneer plaque and the actual plaque on Pioneer 11.

The next Article will be on the third artificial object to leave the Solar System!

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