Tuesday, 26 June 2012

First Man In Space

The Fist Man In Space

Yuri Gagarin was born in Klushino, a small village west of Moscow in Russia (then known as the Soviet Union). Yuri was the third of four children and spent his childhood on a collective farm where his father, Alexey Ivanovich Gagarin, worked as a carpenter and bricklayer and his mother, Anna Timofeyevna Gagarina, worked as a milkmaid.
In 1941, Yuri Gagarin was just seven years old when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. Life was difficult during the war and the Gagarins were kicked out of their home. The Nazis also sent Yuri's two sisters to Germany to work as forced laborers.

Gagarin Learns to Fly

In school, Yuri Gagarin loved both mathematics and physics. He continued on to a trade school, where he learned to be a metalworker and then went on to an industrial school. It was at the industrial school in Saratov that he joined a flying club. Gagarin learned quickly and was obviously at ease in a plane. He made his first solo flight in 1955.
Since Gagarin had discovered a love of flying, he joined the Soviet Air Force. Gagarin's skills led him to the Orenburg Aviation School where he learned to fly MiGs. On the same day he graduated from Orenburg with top honors in November 1957, Yuri Gagarin married his sweetheart, Valentina ("Valy") Ivanovna Goryacheva. (The couple eventually had two daughters together.)
After graduating, Gagarin was sent on some missions. However, while Gagarin enjoyed being a fighter pilot, what he really wanted to do was to go to space. Since he had been following the Soviet Union's progress in space flight, he was confident that soon they would be sending a man into space. He wanted to be that man; so he volunteered to be a cosmonaut.

Gagarin Applies to Be a Cosmonaut

Yuri Gagarin was just one of 3,000 applicants to be the first Soviet cosmonaut. Out of this large pool of applicants, just 20 were chosen in 1960 to be the Soviet Union's first cosmonauts; Gagarin was one of the 20.
During the extensive physical and psychological testing required of the chosen cosmonaut trainees, Gagarin excelled at the tests while maintaining a calm demeanor as well as his sense of humor. Later, Gagarin would be chosen to be the first man into space because of these skills. (It also helped that he was short in stature since Vostok 1's capsule was small.) Cosmonaut trainee Gherman Titov was chosen to be the backup in case Gagarin was unable to make the first space flight.

Launch of Vostok 1

On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin boarded Vostok 1 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Although he was fully trained for the mission, no one knew if it was going to be a success or a failure. Gagarin was to be the very first human being in space, truly going where no man had gone before.
Minutes before the launch, Gagarin gave a speech, which included:
 You must realize that it is hard to express my feeling now that the test for which we have been training long and passionately is at hand. I don't have to tell you what I felt when it was suggested that I should make this flight, the first in history. Was it joy? No, it was something more than that. Pride? No, it was not just pride. I felt great happiness. To be the first to enter the cosmos, to engage single handed in an unprecedented duel with nature - could anyone dream of anything greater than that? But immediately after that I thought of the tremendous responsibility I bore: to be the first to do what generations of people had dreamed of; to be the first to pave the way into space for mankind.*

Vostok 1, with Yuri Gagarin inside, launched on schedule at 9:07 a.m. Moscow Time. Just after lift-off, Gagarin reputedly called out, "Poyekhali!" ("Off we go!")
Gagarin was rocketed into space, using an automated system. Gagarin did not control the spacecraft during his mission; however, in case of an emergency, Gagarin could have opened an envelope left on board for the override code. He was not given the controls to the spacecraft because many scientists were worried about the psychological effects of being in space
After entering space, Gagarin completed a single orbit around Earth. The Vostok 1's top speed reached 28,260 kph (about 17,600 mph). At the end of the orbit, Vostok 1 reentered the Earth's atmosphere. When Vostok 1 was still about 7 km (4.35 miles) from the ground, Gagarin ejected (as planned) from the spacecraft and used a parachute to land safely.
From launch (at 9:07 a.m.) to Vostok 1 touching down on the ground (10:55 a.m.) was 108 minutes, a number often used to describe this mission. Gagarin landed safely with his parachute about ten minutes after Vostok 1. The calculation of 108 minutes is used because the fact that Gagarin ejected from the spacecraft and parachuted to the ground was kept secret for many years. (The Soviets did this to get around a technicality about how flights were officially recognized at the time.)
Right before Gagarin landed (near the village of Uzmoriye, near the Volga River), a local farmer and her daughter spotted Gagarin floating down with his parachute. Once on the ground, Gagarin, dressed in an orange spacesuit and wearing a large white helmet, terrified the two women. It took Gagarin a few minutes to convince them that he too was Russian and to direct him to the nearest phone.

Gagarin Returns a Hero

Nearly as soon as Gagarin's feet touched the ground back on Earth, he became an international hero. His accomplishment was known around the globe. He had accomplished what no other human being had ever done before. Yuri Gagarin's successful flight into space paved the way for all future space exploration.

Gagarin's Early Death

After his successful first flight into space, Gagarin never again was sent into space. Instead, he helped train future cosmonauts. On March 27, 1968, Gagarin was test-piloting a MiG-15 fighter jet when the plane plummeted to the ground, killing Gagarin instantly.

No one is quite sure exactly what went wrong during the deadly test flight. For decades, people have speculated about how Gagarin, an experienced pilot, could safely fly to space and back but die during a routine flight. Some thought he was drunk. Others believed that Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev wanted Gagarin dead because he was jealous of the cosmonaut's fame. Although new evidence and theories keep appearing, no definitive answer has yet been found.

What is known is that Yuri Gagarin's death at the young age of 34 deprived the world of a hero.

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The First Woman In Space

First Woman in Space

Valentina Tereshkova was born to a peasant family in the Yaroslavl' region of the former USSR on March 6, 1937. Yaroslavl is now a part of Russia.
 Soon after starting work in a textile mill at the age of 18, Valentina joined an amateur parachuting club. She was a hard worker. Later, at the age of 24, she applied to become a cosmonaut. Just earlier that year, 1961, the Soviet space program began to consider sending women into space. The Soviets were looking for another "first" at which to beat the United States.

Overseen by the first person in space, Yuri Gagarin, the selection process began mid-1961. Since there weren't many female pilots, women parachutists made an excellent field to choose from. Valentina Tereshkova, three other women parachutists, and a female pilot were selected to train as cosmonauts in 1962.

As per the paranoia of the time, the entire program was shrouded in secrecy. When she left for training, Tereshkova reportedly told her mother she was going to a training camp for an elite skydiving team. It wasn't until the flight was announced on the radio that her mother learned the truth. The identities of the other women in the cosmonaut program were not revealed until
the late 1980s. Valentina Tereshkova was the only one of the group to go into space.

The historic first flight of a female cosmonaut was slated to concur with the second dual flight (a mission on which two craft would be in orbit at the same time, and ground control would maneuver them to within 5 km (3 mi) of each other). Scheduled for June of the following year, the flight left only about 15 months for training. Basic training for the women was very similar to that of the male cosmonauts. It included classroom study, parachute jumps, and time in an aerobatic jet.
They were all commissioned as second lieutenants in the . At that time, the air force had control over the cosmonaut program.

 Valentina Tereshkova was chosen to fly aboard Vostok 6, scheduled for a June 16, 1963 launch date. It is believed that her backup was Irina Solovyova. Tereshkova's training included at least two long simulations on the ground, of 6 days and 12 days duration. On June 14, 1963 cosmonaut Valeriy Bykovsky launched on Vostok 5. Tereshkova and Vostok 6 launched two days later, flying with the call sign Chaika (Seagull). Flying two different orbits, Vostok 5 and 6 came briefly within roughly 5 km (3 mi) of each other, and the cosmonauts exchanged brief communications. Tereshkova followed the Vostok procedure of ejecting from the capsule some 6000 m (20,000 ft) above the ground and descending under a parachute. She landed near Karaganda, Kazakhstan, on June 19, 1963. Her flight lasted 48 orbits totaling 70 hours 50 minutes in space. She spent more time in orbit than all the U.S. Mercury astronauts combined.

 Rumors that Valentina Tereshkova's marriage to fellow cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev in November 1963 was just for propaganda purposes have never been proven. They had a daughter, Yelena, who was born the following year, the first child of parents that had both been in space. The couple later divorced.

It's possible that Valentina may have trained for a Voskhod mission that was to include a spacewalk, but the flight never happened, and the female cosmonaut program was disbanded in 1969. It wasn't until 1982 that the next woman flew in space.That was Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, who went into space aboard a Soyuz flight. The US did not send a woman into space until 1983. Sally Ride, an astronaut and physicist flew aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

Valentina Tereshkova received the Order of Lenin and Hero of the Soviet Union awards for her historic flight. Later she served as the president of the Soviet Women's Committee and became a member of the Supreme Soviet, the USSR's national parliament, and the Presidium, a special panel within the Soviet government. In recent years, she has led a quiet life in Moscow.

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Inspired from the virtual

Not a single moment goes by
that does not bring you the opportunity
to know the Soul more deeply and more fully.
You are the vehicle for experiencing
and knowing your Soul.
So relax, hold back nothing, and let your Soul be.
When you make space for the blessings of Soul to manifest,
you become a living blessing.

At the same time that we want to know
who we are and that we are Soul,
we can so easily get stuck in the drama of daily living.
We become attached to our mistakes and failures
instead of learning how to experience success
beyond our wildest dreams.
A key to expansion,
to opening sacred inner space,
is the divine imagination.
Visualize the very best of yourself—
the joy and the loving flowing within you and out of you—
and hold that vision.
As you hold that vision,
it will become a reality
because that’s the real you.

God continually breathes toward you
the wind that blows from heaven.
As you open yourself to let it in,
you’ll find that you can’t hold on to it,
you can’t possess it.
You must let go and allow that wind to lift you until you
manifest your true self,
the beingness of your Soul.
Then you will know yourself as divine,
as the promised one,
as the Beloved for whom you have searched.
And you will be awakened to the Soul
and will know the presence of God in your heart.

The Soul, which is motionless in its purity,
cannot be reached by the mind,
which is usually moving.
The mind is going too fast
to enter the frequency of Spirit.

The physical world is full of errors
and frustrations and mistakes.
They are all opportunities to refine your level
of awareness so you can get closer to who you are.
Who you are is so subtle that many of you have been
in your Soul and out the other side without realizing
it. The Soul is a small, integral unit of energy,
yet the cosmos and all the universes
are contained within it.
The Soul is the prototype for all existence.
It goes beyond the intellect.

If you know that you are one with the source,
then you don’t feel tense or needy.
You don’t feel lack or pressure. You’re poised.
You’re silent. You’re peaceful.
You can work harmoniously with anything that comes your
way and then let it go, because you are free.

Inspiration comes from a level deeper than thought.
It comes when you are quiet:
when the mind is holding steady,
the emotions are calm,
and the body is in balance.
Then the Soul comes forward with its joyfulness.
When it does, the imagination comes with it.
As the mind lets loose, you may doubt yourself
and wonder if you’re deluding yourself.
It’s important to train yourself to recognize
the difference between your wishful thinking
and the inspiration that comes from
your divine nature and intuitive knowing.
To do this takes practice and learning to trust yourself.

You commit yourself to yourself—
not to the personality or the mind
or the emotions or the body or the wallet,
but to that very essence of God
that we identify as the Soul.

The Soul is your connection to God’s loving heart.
The Soul is living water to quench your thirst.
The Soul is living food to nourish you.
The Soul is the living breath that gives you life.

There is no path in spiritual progression.
There is just spiritual progression.
When people talk about a path,
they set up a distance
and a sense of beginning and ending.
That’s a fallacy.
There is no beginning, no ending, and no separation.
You are never outside of God, whatever you do,
but if you express yourself negatively,
you may separate yourself from your awareness of God.
Express loving in all ways, always,
and you will know the presence of God in your life.

Life is performance art,
and the ultimate performance
is to play yourself.
Paul Kaye
Talk yourself into being in Soul.
Fantasize about being who you are.
Once you are in that fantasy, it becomes authentic.
I know that in my Soul I am free.
If you don’t know how to do that, pretend you do.


Monday, 18 June 2012

My Astro Photos

The Moon
11 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain F10 Telescope
Camera: Olympus OM1 at Prime Focus
Exposure: 1/125 second
Original negative scanned and corrected in Adobe
david hodgson

Camera: Olympus OM1 with 100 mm f/2 telephoto
hand-guided with Barn Door Traker for 5 minutes
Film: Fuji 800

david hodgson

Camera: Olympus OM1
8 inch
Schmidt-Cassegrain f10
using eyepiece projection.
5 individual exposures of 1 second each
on Fuji 800. Each corrected in adobe then all stacked
and merged for single image

david hodgson

M 51 The Whirlpool Galaxy in Canes Venatici

8 inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain f10 telescope
with Olympus OM1 at prime focus
100 minute exposure taken with hypered Kodak Tech Pan film

david hodgson

The Summer Solstice Moon

Camera : Fuji Finepix S1000fd
Exposure: Auto ISO 200

david hodgson

Crescent Moon Setting Over Forbidden Plateau
Camera : Fuji Finepix S1000fd
Exposure: Auto ISO 200

david hodgson

The Northern Lights
Camera: Olympus OM1 50mm F2
Time exposure 30 seconds on Fuji 100

david hodgson

The Northern Lights
Camera: Olympus OM1 50mm F2
Time exposure 20 seconds on Fuji 800

david hodgson

Sundog (Mock sun)
Camera : Fuji Finepix S1000fd
Exposure: Auto ISO 200

david hodgson

M13 -Globular Star Cluster in Constellation Hercules
Distance 25.1 light-years

40 minute guided exposure fuji 400 8inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain f10
with Olympus OM1 at prime focus

david hodgson

The North Star
Olympus OM1 50mm F4
Time exposure 3 hours on Fuji 100

david hodgson

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Transit of Venus & The Partial Lunar Eclipse

The skies cleared for an hour or so on the morning of June 4th 2012, enough for a few shots of the Lunar Partial Eclipse. Photographed from Cumberland
British Columbia


June 5th 2012 gave way through the clouds
to view the Transit of Venus

All images taken with Fuji Fine Pix
camera. Auto exposure 12x

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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Pioneer 10
Planetary Grand Tour

Pioneer Plaque
At the behest of Carl Sagan, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 carry a 152 × 229 mm (6.0 × 9.0 in) gold-anodized aluminum plaque in case either spacecraft is ever found by intelligent life-forms from another planetary system. The plaques feature the nude figures of a human male and female along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft. The plaque is attached to the antenna support struts to provide some shielding from interstellar dust.

Pioneer 10 (originally designated Pioneer F) is a 258-kilogram robotic space probe that completed the first interplanetary mission to Jupiter, and became the first spacecraft to achieve escape velocity from the Solar System. The project was managed by the NASA Ames Research Center and the spacecraft was constructed by TRW Inc. Pioneer 10 was assembled around a hexagonal bus with a 2.74 m parabolic dish high-gain antenna oriented along the spin axis.
Power was supplied by four radioisotope thermoelectric generators that provided a combined 155 W at the start of the mission.

Pioneer 10 was launched on March 2, 1972 by an Atlas-Centaur expendable vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Between July 15, 1972, and February 15, 1973, it became the first spacecraft to traverse the asteroid belt. Imaging of Jupiter began November 6, 1973, at a range of 25 million km, and a total of more than 500 images were transmitted. The closest approach to the planet was on December 4, 1973, at a range of 132,252 km. During the mission, the on-board instruments were used to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter, solar wind, cosmic rays, and eventually the far reaches of the solar system and heliosphere. Communication was lost on January 23, 2003, due to power constraints, with the probe at a distance of 12 billion kilometers (80 AU) from Earth.
In the 1960s, American aerospace engineer Gary Flandro of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory conceived of a mission, known as the Planetary Grand Tour, that would exploit a rare alignment of the outer planets of the Solar System. This mission would ultimately be accomplished in the late 1970s by the two Voyager probes, but in order to prepare for it, NASA decided in 1964 to experiment with launching a pair of probes to the outer Solar System. An advocacy group named the Outer Space Panel and chaired by American space scientist James A. Van Allen, worked out the scientific rationale for exploring the outer planets. Goddard put together a proposal for a pair of "Galactic Jupiter Probes" that would pass through the asteroid belt and visit Jupiter. These were to be launched in 1972 and 1973 during favorable windows that occurred only a few weeks every 13 months. Launch during other time intervals would have been more costly in terms of propellant requirements.

Approved by NASA in February 1969, the twin spacecraft were designated Pioneer F and Pioneer G before launch; later they were named Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11. They formed part of the Pioneer program, a series of United States unmanned space missions launched between 1958 and 1978. This model was the first in the series to be designed for exploring the outer solar system. Based on multiple proposals issued throughout the 1960s, the early mission objectives were to explore the interplanetary medium past the orbit of Mars, study the asteroid belt and assess the possible hazard to spacecraft traveling through the belt, and explore Jupiter and its environment. Later development-stage objectives included the probe closely approaching Jupiter to provide data on the effect the environmental radiation surrounding Jupiter would have on the spacecraft instruments.

More than 150 scientific experiments were proposed for the missions. The experiments to be carried on the spacecraft were selected in a series of planning sessions during the 1960s, then were finalized by early 1970. These would be to perform imaging and polarimetry of Jupiter and several of its satellites, make infrared and ultraviolet observations of Jupiter, detect asteroids and meteoroids, determine the composition of charged particles, and to measure magnetic fields, plasma, cosmic rays and the Zodiacal Light. Observation of the spacecraft communications as it passed behind Jupiter would allow measurements of the planetary atmosphere, while tracking data would improve estimates of the mass of Jupiter and its moons.

NASA Ames Research Center, rather than Goddard, was selected to manage the project as part of the Pioneer program. Ames, under the management of Charles F. Hall, was chosen because of their previous experience with spin-stabilized spacecraft. The requirements called for a small, lightweight spacecraft that was magnetically clean and could perform an interplanetary mission. It was to use spacecraft modules that had already been proven in the Pioneer 6 through 9 missions.

In February 1970, Ames awarded a combined $380 million contract to TRW for building both the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 vehicles, bypassing the bidding process to save time. B. J. O'Brien and Herb Lassen led the TRW team that assembled the spacecraft. Design and construction of the spacecraft required an estimated 25 million person-hours.

To meet the schedule, the first launch would need to take place between February 29 and March 17 so that it could arrive at Jupiter in November 1974. This was later revised to an arrival date of December 1973 in order to avoid conflicts with other missions over the use of the Deep Space Network for communications, and to miss the period when Earth and Jupiter would be at opposite sides of the Sun. The encounter trajectory for Pioneer 10 was selected to maximize the information returned about the radiation environment around Jupiter, even if this caused damage to some systems. It would come within about three times the radius of the planet, which was thought to be the closest it could approach and still survive the radiation. The trajectory chosen would give the spacecraft a good view of the sunlit side.

Spacecraft design
The Pioneer 10 bus measures 36-centimeters deep and with six 76-centimeters long panels forming the hexagonal structure. The bus houses propellant to control the orientation of the probe and eight of the eleven scientific instruments. The equipment compartment lies within an aluminum honeycomb structure to provide protection from meteoroids. A layer of insulation, consisting of aluminized mylar and kapton blankets, provides passive thermal control. Heat is generated by the dissipation of 70 to 120 watts  from the electrical components inside the compartment. The heat range is maintained within the operating limits of the equipment by means of louvers located below the mounting platform. The spacecraft had a launch mass of 260-kilograms.

At launch, the spacecraft carried 36 kg of liquid hydrazine monopropellant in a 42 cm diameter spherical tank.[ Orientation of the spacecraft was maintained with six 4.5 N, hydrazine thrusters mounted in three pairs. Pair one maintained a constant spin-rate of 4.8-rpm, pair two controlled the forward thrust, and pair three controlled the attitude. The attitude pair were used in conical scanning maneuvers to track Earth in its orbit. Orientation information was also provided by a star sensor able to reference Canopus, and two sun sensors.

Power and communications
Pioneer 10 used four SNAP-19 radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG). They were positioned on 2 three-rod trusses, each 3 meters  in length and 120 degrees apart. This was expected to be a safe distance from the sensitive scientific experiments carried on board. Combined, the RTGs provided 155 W at launch, and decayed to 140 W in transit to Jupiter. The spacecraft required 100 W to power all systems. The generators were powered by the radioisotope fuel plutonium-238, which was housed in a multi-layer capsule protected by a graphite heat shield.

The pre-launch requirement for the SNAP-19 was to provide power for two years in space; this was greatly exceeded during the mission. The plutonium-238 has a half-life of 87.74 years, so that after 29 years the radiation being generated by the RTGs was at 80% of its intensity at launch. However, steady deterioration of the thermocouple junctions led to a more rapid decay in electrical power generation, and by 2005 the total power output was 65 W. As a result, later in the mission only selected instruments could be operated at any one time.

The space probe includes a redundant system of transceivers, one attached to the narrow-beam, high-gain antenna, the other to an omni-antenna and medium-gain antenna. The parabolic dish for the high-gain antenna is 2.74 m in diameter and made from an aluminum honeycomb sandwich material. The spacecraft is spun about an axis that is parallel to the axis of this antenna so that it can remain oriented toward the Earth.[12] Each transceiver is 8 W and transmits data across the S-band using 2110 MHz for the uplink from Earth and 2292 MHz for the downlink to Earth with the Deep Space Network tracking the signal. Data to be transmitted was passed through a convolutional encoder so that most communication errors could be corrected by the receiving equipment on Earth. The data transmission rate at launch was 256 bit/s, with the rate degrading by about -1.27 millibit/s for each day during the mission.

Much of the computation for the mission was performed on Earth and transmitted to the probe, where it was able to retain in memory, up to five commands of the 222 possible entries by ground controllers. The spacecraft included two command decoders and a command distribution unit, a very limited form of processor, to direct operations on the spacecraft. This system required that mission operators prepare commands long in advance of transmitting them to the probe. A data storage unit was included to record up to 6,144 bytes of information gathered by the instruments. The digital telemetry unit was used to prepare the collected data in one of the thirteen possible formats before transmitting it back to Earth.

Pioneer 10 interplanetary trajectory

The Pioneer 10 probe was launched on March 3, 1972 at 01:49:00 UTC  by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from Space Launch Complex 36A at Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard an Atlas/Centaur launch vehicle. The third stage consisted of a solid fuel TE364-4 developed specifically for the Pioneer missions. This stage provided about 15,000 pounds of thrust and spun up the spacecraft. The spacecraft had an initial spin rate of 30 revolutions per minute. Twenty minutes following the launch, the vehicle's three booms were extended, which slowed the rotation rate to 4.8 per minute. This rate was maintained throughout the voyage. The launch vehicle accelerated the probe for net interval of 17 minutes, reaching a velocity of 51,682 kilometers/hour (32,114 miles/hour).

After the high-gain antenna was contacted, several of the instruments were activated for testing while Pioneer 10 was moving through the Earth's radiation belts. Ninety minutes after launch, the spacecraft reached interplanetary space. Pioneer 10 passed by the Moon in 11 hours and become the fastest man-made object at that time. Two days after launch, the scientific instruments were turned on, beginning with the cosmic ray telescope. After ten days, all of the instruments were active.

During the first seven months of the journey, the spacecraft made three course corrections. The on-board instruments underwent checkouts, with the photometers examining Jupiter and the Zodiacal light, and experiment packages being used to measure cosmic rays, magnetic fields and the solar wind. The only anomaly during this interval was the failure of the star sensor, which instead required the spacecraft to maintain its orientation using the two sun sensors.

While passing through interplanetary space, Pioneer 10 became the first mission to detect interplanetary atoms of helium. It also observed high-energy ions of aluminum and sodium in the solar wind. On July 15, 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to enter the asteroid belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The project planners expected a safe passage through the belt, and the closest the trajectory would take Pioneer 10 to any of the known asteroids was 8.8 × 106 km (5.5 × 106 mi). One of the nearest approaches was to the asteroid 307 Nike on December 2, 1972.

The on-board experiments demonstrated a deficiency of particles below a micrometer in the belt, as compared to the vicinity of the Earth. The density of dust particles between 10–100 µm did not vary significantly during the trip from the Earth to the outer edge of the belt. Only for particles with a diameter of 100 µm to 1.0 mm did the density show an increase, by a factor of three-fold in the region of the belt. No fragments larger than a millimeter were observed in the belt, indicating these are likely rare; certainly much less common than anticipated. As the spacecraft did not collide with any particles of substantial size, it passed safely through the belt, emerging on the other side about February 15, 1973.

Encounter with Jupiter

On November 6, 1973, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft was at a distance of 25 million km from Jupiter. Testing of the imaging system began, and the data was successfully received back at the Deep Space Network. A series of 16,000 commands were then uploaded to the spacecraft to control the fly-by operations during next 60 days. The orbit of the outer moon Sinope was crossed on November 8. The bow shock of Jupiter's magnetosphere was reached on November 16, as indicated by a drop in the velocity of the solar wind from 451 km/s to 225 km/s. The magnetopause was passed through a day later. The spacecraft instruments confirmed that the magnetic field of Jupiter was inverted compared to that of Earth. By the 29th, the orbits of all of the outermost moons had been passed and the spacecraft was operating flawlessly.

Red and blue pictures of Jupiter were being generated by the imaging photopolarimeter as the rotation of the spacecraft carried the instrument's field of view past the planet. These red and blue colors were combined to produce a synthetic green image, allowing a three-color combination to produce the rendered image. On November 26, a total of twelve such images were received back on Earth. By December 2, the image quality exceeded the best images made from Earth. These were being displayed in real-time back on Earth, and the Pioneer Program would later receive an Emmy award for this presentation to the media. The motion of the spacecraft produced geometric distortions that later had to be corrected by computer processing.During the encounter, a total of more than 500 images were transmitted.

The trajectory of the spacecraft took it along the magnetic equator of Jupiter, where the ion radiation was concentrated.Peak flux for this electron radiation is 10,000 times stronger than the maximum radiation around the Earth. Starting on December 3, the radiation around Jupiter caused false commands to be generated. Most of these were corrected by contingency commands, but the Io image and a few close ups of Jupiter were lost. Similar false commands would be generated on the way out from the planet. Nonetheless, Pioneer 10 did succeed in obtaining images of the moons Ganymede and Europa. The image of Ganymede showed low albedo features in the center and near the south pole, while the north pole appeared brighter. Europa was too far away to obtain a detailed image, although some albedo features were apparent.

The trajectory of Pioneer 10 was chosen to take it behind Io, allowing the refractive effect of the moon's atmosphere on the radio transmissions to be measured. This demonstrated that the ionosphere of the moon was about 700 km above the surface on the day side, and the density ranged from 60,000 electrons per cubic centimeter on the day side, down to 9,000 on the night face. An unexpected discovery was that Io was orbiting within a cloud of hydrogen that extended for about 805,000 km, with a width and height of 402,000 km. A smaller, 110,000 km cloud was believed to have been detected about Europa.

At the closest approach, the velocity of the spacecraft reached 132,000 km/h. The spacecraft came within 132,252 km of the outer atmosphere of Jupiter. Close-in images of the Great Red Spot and the terminator were obtained. Communication with the spacecraft then ceased as it passed behind the planet. The occultation data allowed the temperature structure of the outer atmosphere to be measured, showing a temperature inversion between the altitudes with 10 and 100 mbar pressures. Temperatures at the 10 mbar level ranged from -133° to -113°C, while temperatures at the 100 mbar level were -183° to -163°C. The spacecraft generated an infrared map of the planet, which confirmed the idea that the planet radiated more heat than it received from the Sun.

Crescent images of the planet were then returned as Pioneer 10 moved away from the planet. As the spacecraft headed outward, it again passed the bow shock of Jupiter's magnetosphere. As this front is constantly shifting in space because of dynamic interaction with the solar wind, the vehicle crossed the bow shock a total of 17 times before it escaped completely.

Deep space
Pioneer 10 crossed the orbit of Saturn in 1976 and the orbit of Uranus in 1979. The mission came to an official end on March 31, 1997, when it had reached a distance of 67 AU from the Sun, though the spacecraft was still able to transmit coherent data after this date.

Analysis of the radio tracking data from the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft at distances between 20–70 AU from the Sun has consistently indicated the presence of a small but anomalous Doppler frequency drift. The drift can be interpreted as due to a constant acceleration of (8.74 ± 1.33) × 10-10 m/s2 directed towards the Sun. Although it is suspected that there is a systematic origin to the effect, none was found. As a result, there is sustained interest in the nature of this so-called "Pioneer anomaly". Extended analysis of mission data by Slava Turyshev and colleagues has determined the source of the anomaly to be asymmetric thermal radiation.

After March 31, 1997, Pioneer 10's weak signal continued to be tracked by the Deep Space Network to aid the training of flight controllers in the process of acquiring deep space radio signals. There was an Advanced Concepts study applying chaos theory to extract coherent data from the fading signal.

The last successful reception of telemetry was received from Pioneer 10 on April 27, 2002; subsequent signals were barely strong enough to detect, and provided no usable data. The final, very weak signal from Pioneer 10 was received on January 23, 2003 when it was 12 billion-kilometers (80 AU) from Earth. Further attempts to contact the spacecraft were unsuccessful. The final attempt was made on the evening of March 4, 2006, the last time the antenna would be correctly aligned with Earth. No response was received from Pioneer 10. NASA decided that the RTG units had probably fallen below the power threshold needed to operate the transmitter. Hence, no further attempts at contact were made.

Position of Pioneer 10 As of February 8, 2012, the spacecraft's velocity away from the Sun is approximately 12.046 km/s, or 2.54 AU per year, which is sufficient to escape the Solar System. Its distance from the Sun is about 105.197 astronomical units (1.57372×1010 km) and distance from the Earth about 104.737 astronomical units (1.56684×1010 km).[citation needed] If left undisturbed, Pioneer 10 and its sister craft Pioneer 11 will join the Voyager spacecraft in leaving the solar system to wander interstellar space. The trajectory into interstellar space is expected to take it in the general direction of the star Aldebaran, currently located at a distance of about 68 light years. If Aldebaran had zero relative velocity, it would require more than 2 million years for the spacecraft to reach the star.

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