Image of Pioneer spacecraft
NASA

Pioneer

Pioneer was the name given to a bunch of spacecraft launched between 1958-1978. These spacecraft studied the Earth, the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.

The Pioneer program was really interesting! Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to pass through the Asteroid Belt. Pioneer 10 is headed in the direction of the constellation Taurus. It will take over 2 million years for Pioneer to pass one of the stars of Taurus!

Pioneer 11 was the first spacecraft to take close-up photographs of Saturn and its rings!

Even though most of the Pioneer satellites can't communicate with Earth anymore, some of the satellites will keep traveling out to the end of our solar system and beyond! So, the Pioneer missions carry a gold plaque with pictures on it in case extraterrestrial life were ever to find the spacecraft. People on Earth put important pictures on this plaque so that life outside of Earth (if it exists!) would know something about us!


Last modified March 7, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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