A few hours ago it had been 18 years since the last contact. It was the last weak signal received by NASA’s Pioneer 10 probe on Earth. The probe, lost 18 years ago, continues on its long journey to the star Aldebaran.
Pioneer 10 was launched on March 2, 1972. It was the first probe to successfully cross the asteroid belt and reach the planet Jupiter. That was the main aim of his mission. From there he sent the best pictures of the planet’s atmosphere so far.
In June 1983 it reached another milestone. It was the first man-made object to cross Neptune’s orbit. It was the farthest planet from the Sun at the time because Pluto’s orbit was eccentric. Until 2006, it was no longer considered a planet, reports NASA.
After 1997, the weak signal from Pioneer 10 continued to be tracked by the Deep Space Network. The last weak signal from Pioneer 10 was received on January 23, 2003. How far was it? Twelve billion kilometers from Earth. Attempt to contact her on February 7, 2003 was unsuccessful.
A final attempt was made on the morning of March 4, 2006. It was the last time the antenna was correctly aligned with the earth. However, Pioneer 10 received no response. The ship is currently heading for the star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus. It will arrive in … 1,690,000 years. Quite a long journey.
Message in a bottle
The spaceship Pioneer 10 is also known for a special feature. It contains a plaque with a symbolic message. What does it say Inform the extraterrestrial civilization that the probe could intercept about the human being and its place of origin, earth. The probe, lost 18 years ago, carries a kind of interstellar “message in a bottle”.
This plate is made of gold anodized aluminum. This element has certain properties that cause it to deteriorate only minimally. The plate was designed by the American astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan and the American astronomer Frank Drake. The cartoonist was Linda Salzman Sagan.