SETI bioastro: Pioneer 10 Status Report for December 1, 2001

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Date: Sat Dec 15 2001 - 22:01:52 PST

STATUS UPDATED: 1 December 2001

Pioneer 10 distance from Sun : 79.19 AU Speed relative to the Sun: 12.24 km/sec (27,380 mph) Distance from Earth: 11.70 billion kilometers (7.27 billion miles) Round-trip Light Time: 21 hours 41 minutes
Pioneer 10 had another successful track on 7/9/01 - exactly one year after the last pointing maneuver. The original results back on 7/9/00 - weak signal - seemed to indicate that the maneuver may have failed. The signal strengths from the latest tracks, however, indicate that last year's weak signal was probably due to the onboard one-way oscillator. Therefore, we conclude that the maneuver did work, and another pointing maneuver will not be necessary until first quarter 2002.
Larry Lasher, Pioneer Project Manager
The Geiger Tube Telescope instrument (James Van Allen, P.I.) data have been analyzed. Van Allen reports that the successful DSS63 reception total of 2 hours of clean data from the GTT instrument from the 28 April 2001 and 19 May 2001 tracks. The cosmic ray intensity has continued to decrease since 6 August 2000 and is now 77 percent of its maximum value in late 1998-early 1999. Hence, Pioneer 10 at ~78 AU is still under the delayed influence of solar activity and has not yet reached the cosmic ray modulation boundary of the heliosphere.

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