Exploring the Solar System

Exploring the Outer Planets

What milestones did Pioneer 11 accomplish?

Pioneer 11, like Pioneer 10, headed first to Jupiter, taking breathtaking pictures and gathering scientific data on that planet. Then, Pioneer 11 used Jupiter’s gravitational field to slingshot itself toward Saturn. It arrived at Saturn in 1979 and took the first close-up images and scientific data about that planet, its rings, and its moons. In 1990, Pioneer 11 exited the major planet region of the solar system, and in September 1995, after twenty-two years of operation, it ran out of power and the routine daily mission operations stopped. The last successful communication with Pioneer 11 occurred in November 1995.


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