The Pioneer spacecraft, launched in 1972 and 1973, were the first to traverse the asteroid belt and explore the region around the giant planet Jupiter.
Pioneer 10, 11 Part of the Pioneer program . The brightness of the Sun from the spacecraft is magnitude −16.3.
Pioneer 11 was the first mission to explore Saturn and the second spacecraft in humanity's early reconnaissance of the outer solar system. If left undisturbed, Pioneer 10 and its sister craft Pioneer 11 will join the two Voyager spacecraft and the New Horizons spacecraft in leaving the Solar System to wander the interstellar medium.
Accomplishments: In 1972, an attempt to contact extraterrestrial life was cast into space with the launch of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft. Pioneer 10 is currently in the direction of the constellation Taurus.
Pioneer 11, like Pioneer 10, used Jupiter's gravitational field to alter its trajectory radically. The celestial coordinates, magnitude, distances and speed are updated in real time and are computed using high quality data sets provided by the JPL Horizons ephemeris service (see acknowledgements for details). It passed close to Saturn and then it followed an escape trajectory from the solar system.
The spacecraft carried instruments to study magnetic fields, the solar wind and the atmospheres, moons and other aspects of Jupiter and Saturn. Has anybody extrapolated where they will all end up (if at all)? As of the end of 1995 the spacecraft was located at 44.7 AU from the Sun at a nearly asymptotic latitude of 17.4 degrees above the solar equatorial plane and was heading outward at 2.5 AU/year. Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and the two Voyagers are all headed out of the solar system. This space vehicle was designed to explore the environment of Jupiter, along with asteroids, solar winds, and cosmic rays. Is there a graphic that depicts the direction of flight of all four spacecraft? This page shows Pioneer 11 location and other relevant astronomical data in real time. This solar system escape direction is unique because the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft (and the now terminated Pioneer 11 spacecraft mission) are heading in the opposite direction towards the nose of the heliosphere in the upstream direction relative to the inflowing interstellar gas. 2007-- After more than 30 years, it appears the venerable Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth.
The Pioneer Plaque: Science as a Universal Language. Acting as pathfinders for the Voyager missions, the vehicles provided the first up-close science observations of these planets, as well as information about the environments that would be encountered by the Voyagers. The spacecraft flew closest to Jupiter on 3rd November in the year 1974, closer to the planet than Pioneer 10. Pioneers 10 and 11 were the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter (Pioneer 10 and 11) and Saturn (Pioneer 11 only).
Pioneer 11 is the first manmade object to fly past the planet Saturn. Pioneer 11 also explored Saturn.
Pioneer 11 live position and data. Spacecraft: Pioneer 10-11. The two craft are headed out of the solar system toward other stars in the galaxy.
Science operations and daily telemetry ceased when the RTG power level was insufficient to operate any experiments. The first pictures of the polar regions of Jupiter were sent back to earth by Pioneer 11.