National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Return to Solar System Exploration
Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr iTunes
Follow Us

The Pioneer Missions

Pioneer 10
Pioneer 10

Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 were the first spacecraft to travel to a planet more distant than Mars. They were launched one year apart, in 1972 and 1973. They both flew by Jupiter, and Pioneer 11 went on to Saturn.

There were many serious questions about navigating a spacecraft past Mars. Could it safely make its way through the thousands of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter? How strong would Jupiter's radiation be -- would it disable or destroy the spacecraft? Pioneer 10 and 11 traveled safely through the asteroid belt and survived Jupiter's intense radiation.

Pioneer 11
Pioneer 11

They showed us we could explore the mysterious outer planets of our solar system. The two spacecraft paved the way for the Voyager missions launched just a few years later, in 1977.

Next: The Voyager and Ulysses Missions Next

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 28 Jun 2010