NASA pioneer missions

post 1900s


In the 1950s The pioneer missions started. NASA sent a series of space craft to several different destinations in the solar system. The pioneer missions have paved the way (lead the way)for later probes,hence the name pioneer missions.

The pioneer missions is a series of unmanned space missions designed for planetary exploration.there were a number of missions but the most well known pioneer missions were 10 and 11, due to the fact they left our solar system to explore outer planets

Name Origin

The name Pioneer was given to the spacecraft after Stephen A. Saliga thought the original title " lunar-orbiting vehicle with an infrared scanning device " was too long and lacked theme for an exhibit design. Also, the Public Information Office had already been referring to the Army as "Pioneers in space " .


The technologies and scientific instruments used on the space crafts were almost the same for Pioneer 10 and 11, except for a Flux-Gate Magnometer added to Pioneer 11.

Instruments are :

Helium Vector Magnetometer (F)
Plasma Analyzer
Charged Particle Instrument
Cosmic Ray Telescope
Geiger Tube Telescope
Trapped Radiation Detector
Meteoroid Detector (ENC)(F)
Asteroid-Meteoroid Experiment (ENC)(F)
Ultraviolet Photometer
Imaging Photopolarimeter (ENC)
Infrared Radiometer (F)

Discoveries of the Pioneer Missions

The most noted Pioneers 10 and 11 made the most useful discoveries.

Pioneer 10 which was launched in 1972, made the first close-up images of the planet Jupiter.

It also charted Jupiters intense radiation belts and located the magnetic field of the planet. Pioneer 10 also made the discovery that Jupiter was a mainly liquid planet.

The outer regions of the Solar System were also explored, and the energetic particles from the Sun, and cosmic rays entering our portion of the Milky Way were also studied.

Pioneer 11 was launched in 1973. During it's flyby past Jupiter, Pioneer 11 made a few more observations and obtained dramatic images of the Great Red Spot. The immense polar regions were discovered, and the mass of Jupiter's moon Callisto were studied.

In 1979, Pioneer 11 flew within 13 000 miles of Saturn and took the first close up images of the planet.

Two small moons and an additional ring were also found, none of which had been previously seen; and the magnetosphere and magnetic field if Saturn were also charted. It was also found that Saturn's planet sized moon Titan, was far too cold for life.

Our Knowledge and Understanding

The past Pioneer Missions have allowed us to look beyond the stars.

We have been provided with visual and scientific insight into outer space, and the Missions have opened a gateway for future scientists and future technologies to be used to gain even more information on already discovered and not yet discovered planets and Solar Systems.