STATUS UPDATED: 5 November 1999
(Launched 2 March 1972)
Distance from Sun (5 November 1999): 73.84 AU
Speed relative to the Sun: 12.24 km/sec (27,380 mph)
Distance from Earth: 10.92
billion kilometers (6.786 billion miles) Round-trip Light Time: 20 hours 13 minutes
PIONEER 10 TO SUPPORT ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY!
NASA will continue tracking Pioneer 10 to collect technical and scientific data in support of an advanced technology program. Now that Pioneer program's role in Lunar Prospector is over, NASA will make use of Pioneer's position beyond 73 AU to help develop advanced communications technology for future generations of missions going beyond the heliopause and on into the interstellar medium.
The effort will support development and application of advanced concepts in interstellar spacecraft communications such as Chaos Theory.