Dove si trovano le sonde interplanetarie Pioneer e Voyager?
Pioneer 10 , the first manmade craft to cross Pluto’s orbit, was also the first to fly by the giant planet Jupiter . Launched on March 3, 1972, it is now over 76 Astronomical Units (AU) away from the Earth. It has remained hopelessly deaf to calls from NASA, which is trying to reach it using its Deep Space Network (DSN).
The most recent attempt ended in failure. The scientific team in charge of the mission nevertheless wants to send the craft one last series of orders before it is permanently out of reach of the communications systems.
On January 23, 2001, Pioneer 10 was 77.01 UA from the Sun and is moving away at the speed of 12.24 km/s. It should get on a galactic orbit a few million years from now.
For the record, remember that Pioneer 10 and 11 are transporting a 15 x 23-cm gilded aluminum plate, on which indications are engraved to explain where the two craft come from. The engraving is a diagram of the solar system, the craft’s trajectory, the position of the solar system in relation to 14 specific stars (pulsars) and the silhouette of a naked man and woman, standing out in front of the craft.
Features of spacecraft traveling on the outer limits of the solar system:
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Pagina caricata in rete nel 2000; ultimo aggiornamento: 21 settembre 2004