Asked in Space Travel and ExplorationThe Solar System
What was the first spacecraft to leave your solar system?
April 23, 2009 1:42AM
The interplanetary probe Pioneer 10 left Earth on March 2, 1972, it was indeed off on a pioneering mission. In fact, the spacecraft led the way to all exploration of deep space.
Pioneer 10 was the first probe to travel through the Asteroid Belt and the first craft to explore Jupiter. On June 13, 1983, it became the first space probe ever to travel further than the Sun's most distant planet.
The Asteroid Belt is a Sun-orbiting span of rocky debris floating in space between Mars and Jupiter. The most distant of the nine known major planets, at the far edge of the Solar System, are Neptune and Pluto.
Since passing the outer planets, despite dwindling power onboard, Pioneer 10 has been sending back information by radio as it heads into interstellar space.
The Pioneer 10 and 11 missions ended in March 1997, their transmissions where sent to NASA as contact was restablished in 1998 and then continued to be apart of the study of advanced concepts of communications within their DSN (Deep Space Network) department. This continued until the last weak transmission in January 2002.
Even though this spacecraft is the first to venture out of our solar system being at 7.6bn miles or 82 AU ((Astronomical Unit) 82 x the distance between the Earth and the Sun which is about 93 million miles).
Pioneer 10 is heading towards a red star named Aldeberan within the constellation of Taurus, this star is 68 lightyears away and will take 2 million years to complete it journey.