Pioneer 1

No, this is not about the early settlers in the United States. This is also not about the brand of musical equipment. This is about the spacecraft, Pioneer 1, that was shot into space long ago, in 1977.

After 35 years, this craft are still going and operating, sending data back to earth. Isn't that amazing? After all that time it has crossed a distance that we cannot imagine and despite the insane environment it passes through it is still functioning. The craft is now on or near the edge of our solar system, beyond the orbit of Pluto.

Pioneer 1 and its double, Pioneer 2, are amazing in more ways than one. Each of the craft are outfitted with a recording from earth which contains sounds and music on an LP (ancient technology). The LP is made of gold to assure that it will stay in one piece and perhaps someday it will be found by an intelligent civilisation. On the Pioneers they also mounted a plaque:

Pioneer Plaque
Plaque on the Pioneer craft

It shows two people, the position of our solar system in reference to most known pulsars, the binary number 8 and our depiction of the hydrogen molecule. Click the image for a larger version where most things are explained.

As it's 35 years ago and the Pioneers are reaching the 'edge' of what we call 'our' solar system I wanted to pay homage to the people who devised those machines and sent them off. After all, in a way they boldly went where no man has gone before.


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