As a robot spacecraft, Pioneer 10 is a device that did its job years before students were even born (and a lot of teachers, too). It flew by the planets Jupiter and Saturn in 1973 and 1976 respectively. The satellite was intended to last less than two years but fooled everyone, sending its last goodbye signal in 2003, a full thirty years after it started its journey.
This activity is in two parts. First students will take information from a chart and use it to plot a graph showing when Pioneer 10 crossed the orbits of planets at certain times. Then students will use a calculator to go through math computation to determine how long it will take Pioneer 10 to cross the path of the closest stars.
There are four sheets that should be duplicated and distributed to students and three cream colored sheets for teachers that show the answers.