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Nasa Loses Contact With Pioneer 10

Wed Feb 26, 2003 5:57 pm

After 31 years and having travelled a distance of over 12 billion kilometres, Pioneer 10 looks to have sent its final signal.

Pioneer's final message was received on 22 January and JPL attempted final contact on 7 February - it has heard nothing back.

Guess the next we'll hear of it will be when someone/something reads the "message from Earth" attached to the spacecraft...
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RE: Nasa Loses Contact With Pioneer 10

Wed Feb 26, 2003 6:18 pm

NASA were expecting to lose contact with Pioneer 10 soon anyway i think. It's nuclear power supply was virtually depleted and it's signal was getting weaker and weaker every time they communicated with the spacecraft. They lost contact with Pioneer 11 some time back so now it's just Voyager 1 and 2 with whom JPL communicates with on a daily basis. Although Pioneer 10/11 were launched first, Voyager 2 is actually the most distant man made object ever made. They are estimated to last for another 10 years or so before failing.
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RE: Nasa Loses Contact With Pioneer 10

Wed Feb 26, 2003 6:24 pm

Those were the times, I wish GWB and the European leaders would cut off some 20 billion from the defense budget and shove it into NASA/ESA to get space exploration running.

Thank you Pioneer 10, for many many wonderful pictures.

She was only 258kg heavy, and had a power output of 165W; nevertheless it was heard from a distance of about 80 AU with a signal level of 185dBm.

I wonder when someone comes and plunks it into our backyard "Ey, we think you lost something", or it comes back on its own (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, anyone?)

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RE: Nasa Loses Contact With Pioneer 10

Wed Feb 26, 2003 6:40 pm

Scientist were hoping to track it as long as possible to see whether this craft is also being slowed down by an unknown force as is happening to Pioneer 11 and the Voyagers.

I agree with SailorOrion. More money more missions. The proposed Pluto-Kuiper mission would be one of interest, however it is about to be axed from what I've read.
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RE: Nasa Loses Contact With Pioneer 10

Wed Feb 26, 2003 8:53 pm

Actually, I just read on (I think that was it) that they have been given the go-ahead with the Pluto/KBO mission. Construction start in 2004, launch in 2006, rendevous with Pluto 2015.

Actually, I feel that any significant manned space exploration will have to come from private funding and private companies. The time for that is long overdue.

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RE: Nasa Loses Contact With Pioneer 10

Thu Feb 27, 2003 1:01 am

Never were two spacecraft so aptly named, these simple craft paved the way for Voyager, they discovered that radiation near Jupiter was much worse than thought, without that data, the much more sophisticated Voyagers would have been knocked out, as it happened, they could be redesigned.
Pioneer 11, after encountering Jupiter in 1974, did a gravity assist to fly across the Solar system to meet Saturn years later, before the Voyagers, which Pioneer had not been designed for.
They were only supposed to last a few years anyway.