NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pioneer 10 launch. Launch of the Pioneer 10 mission aboard an Atlas-Centaur rocket on 2 March 1972. Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to fly by Jupiter and the first to leave the solar system. Pioneer 10 (also known as Pioneer-F) flew within 130,300 kilometres of Jupiter's cloud tops on 4 December 1973. Its instruments measured charged particles, magnetic fields, levels of ultraviolet and infrared radiation, meteoroid numbers and took photographs. On 13 June 1983, Pioneer 10 passed the orbit of Neptune, furthest planet from the Sun at the time, and left the solar system. Routine tracking & data processing operations were terminated on 31 March 1997 for budgetary reasons.
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