Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Pioneer 11 will fly outside rings of Saturn


  • Anonymous


NASA's Pioneer 11 will fly just outside the rings of Saturn during the first encounter with that planet in 1979. This decision was announced recently by Noel Hinners, NASA Associate Administrator, and A. Thomas Young, Director of Planetary Programs.

The Pioneer spacecraft will pass 30,000 km from the edge of the outer ring and will swing in, under the ring plane, to a distance of 25,000 km from the surface of Saturn. The chances of surviving this outside pass are estimated to be much greater than those of surviving an inside pass, which would have brought Pioneer as close as 6000 km to the planet.