A spacecraft was launched from Cape Kennedy, USA, on Friday, (6 April) for as 22-month journey to Jupiter -- a mission which scientists hope will yield clues to the basic structure of the universe, and the creation of life.
GV Pioneer II on launch pad (2 shots)
GV NIGHT SCENE...prior to launching
GV Pioneer II firing second ignition system
Initials ES. 1710 ES. 1725
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Background: A spacecraft was launched from Cape Kennedy, USA, on Friday, (6 April) for as 22-month journey to Jupiter -- a mission which scientists hope will yield clues to the basic structure of the universe, and the creation of life.
Pioneer -II should pass within 25,000 miles of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. By interplanetary reckoning that is a close miss. Its predecessor, Pioneer 10, now half-way to Jupiter, was programmed to travel within 100,000 miles of Jupiter.
Pioneer-II carries special identification to proclaim earth as its origin, because it is expected to continue beyond Jupiter to become a wanderer around the Milky Way, and scientists still bear in mind the possibility of contacting alien life forms. The spacecraft's 620 million mile (992 million kilometres) Odyssey will take it at about 31,000 miles an hour (50,000 kilometres an hour) through a far-from empty Space. Among the hazards it will encounter is the 205-million mile wide asteroid belt beyond Mars -- which will take seven months to traverse.
The spaceship is crammed with scientific instruments. It is designed to carry out 14 specific experiments, investigating atmosphere, radiation, magnetism, heat and other aspects of Jupiter and its 12 satellites. It also carried a plaque showing pictures of a man and woman - just in case it lands somewhere where there is life.
SYNOPSIS: At Cape Kennedy in the United States, another step in Man's quest for knowledge about the universe. Pioneer-II is ready for its 620 million mile trip to Jupiter, a 22-month Odyssey which scientists hope will produce new evidence about the structure of the universe, and the origins of life.
The launching took place on Friday. The spacecraft was ready. Inside was crammed equipment to carry out fourteen separate experiments into conditions on Jupiter.
Lift-off, and all went well. Pioneer-II quickly reached the 32,000 miles an hour needed to get away from Earth and begin its long journey which should take it to within 25,000 miles of the surface of Jupiter. That may not seem close, but it is by scientific standards. The earlier Pioneer 10, which is now half-way to Jupiter, will only pass within 100,000 miles.
After passing Jupiter, Pioneer-II could wander forever throughout the Milky Way. It even carries special greetings in case it's intercepted by intelligent creatures somewhere in the mysteries of space.