Launched in 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to reach Jupiter and send back photos–nude photos. You don’t even want to know what that big red spot is. It’s pretty gross.
Here are a few facts about Pioneer 10:
- Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to make it through the asteroid belt. Dude, it was just like in “The Empire Strikes Back!” So awesome. And that giant worm thing that lives in that asteroid tried to bite it. We don’t really understand the evolution that leads to a giant, hole-dwelling asteroid worm that apparently doesn’t need to breath oxygen, since that asteroid had no atmosphere to speak of, but still: kinda cool.
- Also, Pioneer 10 was the first craft to leave our solar system. Currently it’s headed toward the star Aldebaran, where it hopes to find a gas station restroom that’s halfway clean, and then maybe buy some Slim Jims before getting back on the road.
- Pioneer 10 carries a gold plaque that explains who sent Pioneer 10 into space and where it came from. It probably doesn’t explain Lady Gaga, however.