TRANSCRIPT OF THE PIONEER 10 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
10:55 A.M. - 1:30 P.M.


Operating and Controlling Pioneer - Fred Wirth

>> Welcome back.

Glad to see you all here.

And hope you enjoyed the refreshments and I was told to remind you that they do have a gift shop here right next to the registration, that is a plug for our sponsors there. Also on the opposite side there's a room full of booklets and you can go in and take a look at that.

Little bit later on we'll be telling you about some of the things we're going to give you a little bit later this afternoon.

One of the things that we were discussing over the break that I think that a lot of you probably can't relate to because I can't, and that is the fact that when Pioneer 10 was launched, one of the reasons why we didn't think so much about an outer solar system type project was simply the fact that in 1972, when it was launched, the technology didn't exist.

And we didn't think that the antennas would be able to hear Pioneer 10 to the edge of the solar system much less beyond that because I think got this right, and Larry is probably going to be able to check me outside there, but the signal we're getting back from Pioneer 10 today is, I think, a trillionth of a billionth of a watt, almost as large as my paycheck.

Anyway, so just keep in mind that we're dealing with a signal that is very, very difficult to detect against the normal static we get from space.

It also has proved very valuable because of the people who are engaged in setting the search for extraterrestrial intelligence because it helped to develop their technique to detect a man-made signal against the background radiation.

Something that we got off that we thought of when we launched. It's my honor right now to introduce to you Fred Wirth. Fred and I have worked together and kind of been pals since I moved out to Ames Research Center.

And Fred is a former project manager as well and Fred comes to us with insight into something which is also very critical to a spacecraft. That is, how do I control it? And one of Fred's talents has been in the design of Mission Control.

Who designs those things.

And so Fred's is going to give us a little bit of insight into how we're able to work with this and how we're able to control the spacecraft and listen to it and things like that.

I'd like to introduce Fred Wirth.

>> Fred: Thank you, Bob.

Good morning.

I want to talk to you about controlling of Pioneer spacecraft and what it takes.

If I can have the first slide, please.

That's a picture of the spacecraft that you're all familiar with and one of the things that influences controlling the spacecraft is how stable is the spacecraft in its orbit or in its position. One of the salient characteristics in Pioneer 10 is that it is a -- it is a spin-stabilized spacecraft, it is spinning around the stable axis of antenna about five rpms.

That simple action keeps the spacecraft always pointed in the same direction and presumably that direction is toward the earth where we have the great big 70 meter dish antennas that are operated by the deep space network operated by GPL for NASA and those antennas are located in Spain.

There's one in Australia and one in California in the Mohave Desert.

Presumably once we send up that spacecraft, it stays pointed in the same direction.

Now, of course the earth insists on moving out of the way, but I'll talk about that later.

Another characteristic of the Pioneer spacecraft or the simple spacecraft is that they do not have a tape recorder on board computer, or anything like that.

They transmit data continuously.

The combination of health data, we call that health, status on the spacecraft, temperatures, voltages, currents, and also scientific data and also status of the scientific instruments. These data are being transmitted continuously.

That implies of course that if somebody isn't listening or tracking the spacecraft, the data is lost forever.

So one of the fringe benefits or our benefits, if you wish, one of the penalties one has with such a simple spacecraft is that you have to man a Mission Control center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year if you want to get a reasonable data return.

A third characteristic of this spacecraft is that, of course, it doesn't have any onboard computers, no onboard smarts so you have to tell it everything.

We send a string of commands up to the spacecraft very, very -- sometimes in certain parts of the mission we send as many as 2,000, 3,000 commands per day to the spacecraft.

We physically have to send instructions to the spacecraft to turn instruments on and off, change the calibration, and the operating mode of the instruments and that kind of thing.

So basically now, we have defined what we mean by operating and controlling the spacecraft.

Basically we have controllers sitting at control consoles and watching the parameters from the spacecraft being received -- parameters from the spacecraft being received, temperatures and voltages and all that kind of thing.

It's sort of like a patient in an intensive care unit hooked up to a dozen machines to display his health.

The nurse has to watch all those instruments, and on occasion, you reach over and adjust one of the instruments.

In the case of Pioneer, of course that patient is over six billion miles away.

And it takes nine hours to display the data, nine hours and 15 minutes, actually, and then it takes another nine hours and 15 minutes for the response to arrive at the spacecraft.

One of the things I enjoyed most during my tenure as the spacecraft project manager is talking to student groups and teachers groups. And one of the things I always remember, somebody asked me a question, well, you know, how do we understand the speed of light and launch time? And it's sort of a nebulous affair.

I said well, basically it's like 186,000 miles per second is the speed of light.

And also the speed of electricity and commands. So I asked them that, imagine turning a light switch on at 6:00 in the morning in their room.

Electricity takes nine hours and 15 minutes to reach the light bulb.

Okay, the light bulb comes on. However, your eyes do not see that light bulb as being on yet because it takes another nine hours and 15 minutes for that light to reach your eyes. Of course by that time, it's time to go to bed again and you have to turn the light switch off again.

So this is essentially what we are dealing with. We have to send instructions to the spacecraft, commands, and see the response 18 hours later.

During the introduction, it was mentioned that I designed control centers.

Well, we've been doing this now since 1964.

And I thought I'd share with you some of the earlier versions of the control centers. Next slide, please. This is our first tape processing station.

In those days in 1964, when we ran a different series of spacecraft and later on we merged Pioneer 10 into that.

We received data from analogue tape mailed to tracking stations and we converted them to digital data so we can process the data by computer.

Some of us there you may recognize were a lot younger then. Next slide, please.

This shows the next vintage of a control center. As you might notice, those are teletype machines. In those days, we received data via teletype at 80 baud, 80 bits per second.

And for archival storage of the data, we punched paper tape and we wound it on little spools and put the spools in boxes and labeled them so we can later replay the data.

Next slide, please.

This is the next vintage.

Now we finally discovered there was a thing such as computers that were economical and so we now have computer-driven alphanumeric displays, we now actually see parameters and information displayed on monitors and those are those operators would also be in the commands.

Commands would be processed by the computer and transmitted to the tracking station.

Next slide, please.

What I didn't tell you in that in those days, the computers were a lot bigger than they are nowadays.

This shows some of the computers that we used.

There was a primary computer consisted of 12 cabinets, each one of them the size of a refrigerator, some of them on the right-hand side.

To give you an idea of the state of technology in the '70s, one of them had a hard disk drive. And of course we, all familiar with hard disk drives now in our little IBM PCs. That had a capacity of .75 megabyte. The platter, the disk itself, was this big in diameter.

And it was housed in one of these gray cabinets. And today, we've come a long way. Let me show you what happened next.

Next slide, please.

This is how we ended up.

This is how we're controlling the spacecraft now. This is a screen from an Apple Macintosh computer. Never mind these 12 big racks.

This is all being done on an Apple Macintosh computer using graphic display language, all the parameters to be called up on the display.

We can see instrument status, power status, performance of the tracking signal, various types of things.

We can punch up additional screens where we can investigate perhaps some anomaly, we can have a detailed look at the power subsystem or an instrument status or this type of thing so that we've come a long way since the early days.

Earlier I said I would talk to you a little bit about what it takes to control the spacecraft.

May I have the next slide, please.

Pioneer 10 is spinning, and as I said, it's always pointed in the same part of the sky.

And if you were to sit on Pioneer 10 with a telescope looking through the forward side of the antenna, you would see the sun, you would see a narrow ellipse. The earth travels back and forth around the sun.

Essentially you see the earth and the sun edge on and you would see the tiny, narrow ellipse where the earth moves back and forth.

And the motion, the extent of that motion is approximately two degrees.

So as the sun is at the center of this ellipse, the earth moves one degree to the left, goes all around 12 months later, six months later, is on the right-hand side of the ellipse, and then continues in that fashion.

So the job to be done by it is this antenna must be pointed at the earth. And as the earth keeps moving, and the antenna has to be in a such that the earth is within .5 degrees of the center of the antenna beam. That applies that twice a year we have to maneuver the spacecraft. And I think Larry Lasher was talking and telling you earlier that we recently did a maneuver. Twice a year we have to maneuver the spacecraft. Basically what we do is we test the spacecraft.

Since it is spinning, we fire tiny little thrusters once per revolution. So if you time the firing right, each thruster fires a short little pulse and it goes like this, and that slowly tilts the spacecraft and aims it back at the earth. So normally, we do these maneuvers that December-January time frame and then again in July and August.

So July and August, this coming July and August, we are, let's see now, we are now pointed to the left of the ellipse and in July and August, we have to now move it by about a degree or half a degree and point it to the right of the ellipse.

So that's how we are controlling the spacecraft. The way we do it is pointing it, this graphic shows the basic idea.

Basically, what is happening is without going into a lot of details, is that gun stations, 70 meter dish and continue, antenna is carrying an uplink signal to the spacecraft, the sensor senses that signal and zeroes in, has enough smarts and electronic on board that it senses the error in pointing of the signal.

So that automatically, we power up the processor equipment on the spacecraft and it automatically zeros in on the back toward the strongest signal on earth and that is therefore pointing straight at the high-gain antenna.

Somebody mentioned that it was the signal strength was like a trillionth of a trillionth of a watt. It really is truly amazing, folks.

Those of you who are mechanical engineers like I am you probably will be amazed to know that the signal strength of a receiving is minus 174 decibels below one milliwatt.

It's something that means something to communication engineers. It's infinitely small. Very, very tiny signal.

I guess that's all I have time for right now. Can I answer any questions? So easy, right?

Thank you very much.

>> One of the things that I've learned in working at Ames is how much work it does take to make something like this to operate.

And it is certainly one of the tributes to all the people that made Pioneer that it has been working so well.


Pioneer, Seque to the Future - Louis Friedman

The next person whom I'd like to introduce to you is Louis Friedman who is an astronomer and also the executive director of the Planetary Society. And the refreshments which you just enjoyed were presented to you by the Planetary Society, and we'll get that plug in.

And what he wants to talk to you today about is a little about Pioneer and where we're going into the future.

And I'd like to introduce Louis. And again, if you have questions, please feel free to ask, and we'd be more than happy to try and answer them for you.

>> Louis: Thank you.

What do you do about the refreshments announcement on the Internet? People went off into their rooms and get a snack? I'm very pleased to be here.

And I was originally trying to figure out why I was asked here besides the refreshments questions. It wasn't that I had --

>> Louis: Maybe that was the whole answer. It wasn't that I had anything to do with Pioneer 10, let me make that clear.

I was working at the time on Mars Mariner Venus Mercury mission, very interesting mission that was conducting its operations around the same time, and in general, on interplanets missions. I think my role here is, because the Planetary Society is, to a large extent, the organizational heir for Carl Sagan who had a lot to do with the public aspects of the Pioneer 10 and about which we're talking about today, and in particular, with conveying the broad global popular interest in planetary exploration.

And in particular, so much has been made of the Pioneer 10 plaque, and we'll talk about that in a minute, which Dr. Sagan had a lot to do with, and the conveying to so many people, so far only on this planet, about the excitement of planetary exploration and the purposes of this spacecraft and this mission.

Pioneer 10 and 11 was a segue to a whole exploration era, not just because of where the spacecraft went, but in our whole outlook toward planetary exploration.

Realize that outer planets are not just far away, but they are very different.

They're not terrestrial planets.

And that's all obvious now with everything we know, but we didn't know what we were going out toward in the solar system when Pioneer 10 and 11 were launched and we're only now learning about the richness of the systems out there and the many different worlds.

They're a segue to a whole class of studies about non-terrestrial planets and they're really very much a pathway to the stars and to thinking about planets around other worlds. And I'll come back to that if I have time at the end of this talk to deal with that part of the subject.

Symbolically, Pioneer, the representations on Pioneer 10 and 11, played an important part in conveying why we're exploring and what it means to explore the solar system. May I have the first slide, please.

The idea of putting a -- no, that's the second slide. Thank you.

The idea of putting a representation on the spacecraft really is for two audiences.

And this will come up repeatedly as we think about further planetary exploration.

One audience is clearly us. This representation means something to us.

And the other audience is them, where "them" is undefined, but it is a message to be conveyed to others.

Sometimes those others are unimaginable, as in this case. Sometimes they're imaginable but still unknown. And sometimes they are only symbolic.

But it is the first audience that has already captured so much of the imagination and interest and value of this plaque, because its significance was to convey the idea that we are projecting something of ourselves out in an attempt to learn more about our relationship with the universe, and really to make contact with the universe; if not with beings in the universe, at least with the processes that are underway out there.

This has, I think, served us very well. And it's hard to remember, but there was controversy about such ideas or thoughts that maybe it wasn't important.

But the idea that this is related, and that you can't talk about Pioneer missions these days without showing this plaque, really has led to that. It has captured exactly the purpose to which it was intended; namely, to convey the significance and understanding of the purpose of the mission, and what we are trying to do as we explore the solar system.

Others have commented on what the plaque, means. And it's not the purpose here to go into that. Let's just take it a little further.

The next representation of this on the next slide was on the Voyager record which took the technology a little further instead of just a simple plaque, it was now much more data could be put into the form of a record.

And instructions for playing the record as well as symbolic representations and many, many pictures, sounds, greetings, a whole panoply of earth's, the best of earth was put on to this record to be discovered in the future.

The representation on the Pioneer plaque, that symbol of the spacecraft making its way through the planets, has stuck with us and has become part of public recognition instantly, so much so that we adopted it at the Planetary Society in our logo which, not coincidentally, the logo will be designed by one of the people who had worked on the Pioneer plaque with Dr. Sagan. The next part shows another thing that was supposed to go to the planet.

This is a -- this have a very small label, less than six inches in the long dimension there, that was to go on the -- it did go on the Mars '96 spacecraft. Unfortunately, the Mars '96 spacecraft never left orbit but was to go to the Martian surface.

was picked up on that drawing that was on the Pioneer 10 spacecraft and became a symbolic, which is to say now wasn't recognized, on this label, a CD. Could I have the next slide, please.

Which was called Visions of Mars, which was also in that spacecraft and now contains a whole anthology of books and pictures and recordings and video all related to inspiration for Mars exploration anthology of science fiction and famous science fiction, to become the first Martian library.

I did mention we didn't make it to Mars and we're hoping to try it again on later Mars missions which, fortunately, there are several plans. In fact, a series have been planned over the next many years.

We're hopeful, still, that this CD will get there. This calls into attention something we can't lose track of when we are making the symbolic representations for them, the other audience, and that is, of course, the evolution of the technology.

The technology on the Pioneer plaque was a simple picture. The technology on the Voyager record was a phonograph. The technology on this was really twofold: One is the CD, which was pretty good, being used for a lot of archiving purposes. And the other was what was on that label. Could we go back one slide? Is that easy?

On this label, you'll see on the left-hand side a mounted plate, which is actually contains an electron beam with hundreds of pages of notations on how to build a CD player and how to play it and many other important aspects, including the names of the 100,000 members of the Planetary Society at the time this was created.

Okay, next slide, please.

It was done with electron beam lithography. And you see an evolution of technology here which is why it's important as we start to think about other representations. The Pioneer 10 plaque was, of course, intended if at all to be discovered hundreds of thousands of millions of years from now by something unknown.

This particular CD was intended to be discovered by human explorers perhaps as soon as 100 years from now. It had a different set of criteria for its representation. This is not the only representation that has been on spacecraft. The spacecraft launched by the Russians in 1988 that went to Mars and made a close approach to Lobos before failing to send its lander down to the surface there had on it a plaque that was actually contributed -- made by NASA or made by the United States and carried there by the Russians as a tribute to Hall, the astronomer who discovered Lobos.

That was mostly intended as a symbolic way of giving honor of the discoverer of the Lobos Moon and not necessarily intended for anyone from this planet who would eventually go there and discover the first remnants of a lander in space.

Another famous representation that was sent to another planet was the microdot on Viking, which contained the names of many of the workers on that spacecraft mission. So the idea seems to be firmly in place that we as we send spacecraft outwards in the solar system, we'll be including some type of representation of ourselves, our reasons for doing these missions, conveying it to the public, using it as an educational device, using it as a way of garnering interest, and at the same time, having that small chance of actually providing a message, either in a future time or other place or both, about the mission itself.

Next year, or I'm sorry, this year, Cassini mission is going to be launched and it contains two very interesting further records of representations of humanity as it will be launched.

One is a diamond chip that will be on the spacecraft that will include a serial picture of basically people in a scene that is been very carefully designed to create a broad representation of the humanity and of the people that sent this spacecraft there. The idea is that there will be an artifact in orbit around Saturn, and an artifact on the surface of Titan or whatever that surface might be maybe under the pet name Ocean, whatever -- of who sent the spacecraft there and what they were thinking of at that time.

This is a serial photograph employs another technology very different from these technologies, and really talks a bit about a different way of representing a message about who sent the spacecraft.

The other thing that's on the Cassini spacecraft is a CD which is nothing more than signatures from people who wanted to have their signature going on spacecraft as kind of a guest book, if you will. Imagine throwing a party, having people come in and sign the guest book. Why do they do that? Just to show they have been there; you have some record that they went.

And that's what's happened on the Cassini spacecraft. The project people threw open their Internet page and said sign up.

And then they had to have a place to send the sign-ups and that's where the Planetary Society got involved. We like mail and projects, and space agencies don't like mail. So they asked us for help in dealing with the mail. We've been gathering these signatures and we've scanned in more than half a million of them now, and the CD is getting ready to be created, and we'll mount it on the spacecraft. This, of course, is not a representation unlike this particular CD or unlike the diamond chip or unlike the record of the Pioneer plaque.

It is not intended that this will be found or have any meaning for future explorers or future finders, but this is strictly a, something that people that signed in. When I first told about this I had some misgivings. I thought it was a gimmick. And I said well, let's not do it. But as we got, as we got into it I'm quite enthused that we had. There are 500,000 people, many of them will follow the Cassini mission, they will relate to, that's important, they may on a even learn from it, that's even more important. So I think the motion of the -- notion of the representation what they add to the higher educational informational outreach of these investigations is valuable and is important and has already served us well and will continue to do so.

I hope we can find ways to keep this kind of tradition going. I said I would only talk about the Pioneer missions, though, not so much as looking back on the past but as a segue to the future.

And I mentioned that they have been a segue or chart of looking to other planets and terrestrial planets as well as different parts of the solar system and getting us thinking about how far interplanetary and interstellar flight.

I want to talk about what's coming up in interplanetary exploration because it is an exciting time. It's much in many ways reminisce end of the late '60s when Pioneer and Voyager were being conceived and we had a whole solar system that was out there unknown.

It has been lost on us in the late '70s and '80s and only now is it coming back the idea that we're exploring many places and learning so many different things.

So the next chart is a chart of -- next slide is a chart of planetary missions.

I hastily prepared this, I must tell you, last week. I didn't have it in quite the form I wanted. I did this rather quickly. I may have even left off one or two. So I'm hoping expecting to be told it's incorrect someplace. That's only part of the fun.

We now realize we can't remember everything that's going on in the solar system exploration and what you see here is a list of missions and down the left-hand side and then a table of launch years, '96 out to 2015, with a little break between 2006 and 2015, then dot-dot-dot. Then J, Y and Zs in the table. There's not too much uncertainty about the launch date. Z means it's under study.

The real time has yet to be done although it seems to be firmly in the plan.

If it's not firmly in the plan, it's not shown up here. For example, there are a number of other missions that are into discovery and the Millennium program which are being proposed but are not yet in the plans, so I haven't included them. That would only make this chart even more exciting.

It's obviously that the first impression is that it's a rich amount of things going on.

And there's a lot of different targets that are out there for solar system exploration.

The, to be sure, many of these missions are very, very small. And many of these missions are very limited in their objectives. That's the new style of doing things.

It's very different from the Voyagers and the Vikings, and Galileos and Cassini and more limited of their objectives and the Mariner is more reminiscent of the Pioneers, with special purpose targets and more investigations are being carried out. It's also reminiscent of the Pioneers and whole series of Pioneer program and missions that were carried out.

And that's what's going on in these programs especially in surveyor, discovery and the Millennium, many of these missions are included.

It also included missions not from the United States. You'll see planet B, a Mars Orbiter there, you'll see the probe of course the part of the Cassini mission, the Mars 2001 refers to the Russian plans or hopes, you guess you have to call it hopes now for doing a mission in 2001.

Sell even is a Japanese mission, Rosetta is a European space mission and Mercury Orbiters are actually being studied by both Japan for the 2006 time wave model.

Mentioned also I hope to get back to it, time permitting, the last item on the list, the humans to Mars which I stuck out there in 2015 just to have it someplace beyond the -- at the right edge of the chart as a place to begin talking there. There are optimists like myself who want to do it earlier.

There are others who say it probably won't be done until later and no time frame has been set for that yet except in speeches like these where we talk about them anywhere we can.

There's something that's really profound that's happened I think about from last year in our attitude toward planetary exploration.

And that's a whole change in our notion of about other planets and about the questions of habit ability. Used to be thought that earth lived in a very, I remember saying this -- earth was in a very narrow habitable zone.

If we were just a little closer to the sun we'd go greenhouse like Venus or just a little further we'd end up like Mars and the planet wouldn't be habitable and we're very lucky to be in this range and position.

And that culled our attitudes about stars and solar system and how we defined the planets in our own solar system. It's changed and it's changed for a number of reasons, but the one that I'm dwelling on I think is particularly relevant because Pioneer 10 was segue to this type of thing is it changed in part because of the outer planet moons as well as because of the obvious place in our solar system Mars.

Outer planet moons as we're learning are incredibly interesting and diverse places and they have a range of possibility conditions that we could not have imagine imagined before we started exploring them.

Now when you put that on to the fact that outer planets or giant planets, not outer, they're not synonymous, giant planets are being discovered in four-day orbits or one month orbits around other stars and now you put moons around those planets and you'll see that you range from there all the way out to distance of like Saturn with its wide range of moons and possible dynamic forces that are underway.

You see that you have a terrific amount of varying conditions that are possible on outer planet moons.

You also found that habitability on earth is a much wider subject than we ever imagined, exotic forms of life are being found inside of rocks, deep inside the ocean floor, underground vents, processes that we're not quite sure we understand as to what is sustaining that form of life.

And the notion of life forming at exotic and rare places on exotic and rare worlds is very much easier today than it was 10, even five years ago.

This I think is going to dominate our solar system exploration program in both places for outer planet moons as well as in -- at Mars which is so dominant in our program with now launches scheduled every opportunity, several launches scheduled every opportunity to be done in the future. What's my time? What is it? My time is out? I only have 10 more slides.

I guess I won't show you the slides of Europa and Ganymede, I won't show you the slides of Mars and Mars sample return.

I'm going to quickly save them and then leaning towards humans in going to the planets, we're dominated now in our thinking about the future of solar system exploration by the questions and finding out not just about life past or future on other planets but by questions of habitability, that's why I think the subject is gaining such a grade breadth of interest and what I think is relates to as we think about the future of solar system exploration. Thanks.

No time for me but time for you, if you have questions or comments at this point, yes.

How may one find out more details about all of these missions? Well, if you're into the Internet, which obviously some people are, then almost all of these missions have something about them on the Internet.

And you can go either to the space agencies like European space agency or the institute for space and astronomical studies in Japan, carries out the Japanese planetary missions, or the Russian space pages or you can go to the programs within NASA, discovery page, the discovery program has a page, the new Millennium program has a page.

That's it in a nutshell and you can link everything through the Planetary Society we have a place called space gate that links all of these sites if you go to our page which is htpp://planetary.orggts then select "space gate" you'll find all of these options there. Yes in the middle.

I couldn't quite -- I'm sorry, I couldn't quite hear the question.

I heard something about the reference to intelligent. Life.

Voyager, yeah, the reference -- the question had to do with the reference to the notation on the spacecraft signifying when they were launched, obviously not in a, our civil calendar but it can give information.

On the Pioneer and Voyager, there was reference to star system position and our view of it here as well as a timing that was related to the pulsars, I don't remember the detail so that presumably anyone, a lot of astronomy programs would run it back yards and find out where it was launched from and when.

On the visions of Mars and on the Provost plaque, the only intent to be found by humans was proven and that information was to be read and it wasn't that far off in the future that it had to cope with the same problems.

The Cassini diamond chip I'm actually not familiar with as to what shows the time there.

I know they did some timing things with solar shadows and solar system but that wouldn't give you the time of launch so I'm not sure about that.

Thank you very much Dr. Friedman I'm sure if we got the questions we could spend the whole day on them. Very interesting.

I wanted to do something a little unscheduled here. Since this is quite an unscheduled affair I notice that we have today in the audience some of the controllers.

I recognized them if she could stand up in back. I have Rick Canto the head controller, stand up, Rick, then we have Dick Mann standing next to him. [ Applause ]

Then in front of him is Byron -- Ryan Caras, spacecraft engineer.

Thank you.


Pioneer 10's First Project Manager - Charlie Hall

While we're doing unscheduled things, I notice that in the agenda I had present -- myself, we heard from Richard Fimmel and Fred Wirth and there's another one here.

This gentleman is very eminent in the fact that he started the program and he constructed not only Pioneer 10 but Pioneer 11 and he was in the very beginning 10 years prior to Pioneer 10 and we had Pioneers 6s which is what NASA Ames started 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and Pioneer Venus Pioneer 11, 12 and 13 and he was instrumental in all of those and he was one that was we need to thank for having this symposium today.

I'd like for him to come up here and say a few words. That's Charlie Hall.

>> Charlie: Thank you very much, Larry, that was very kind of you.

I do have only a few words. Listening to all the speakers today brings back many fond memories of 25 years ago and frightening memories, too, for that matter.

I wanted to answer a couple of questions, one person was talking about the plaque earlier today and asked about the erosion of the plaque.

To the best of my memory, we turned the black so it faced inward so that you wouldn't have the erosion and the specific spacecraft itself would protect the plaque.

Another thought that came to mind as I think there is a lot of educators here today.

I he estimate that the Pioneer program -- estimate that the Pioneer program 10 and 11 provided support to about 50 people to earn their Ph.D.s during the time they were working on the sciences and I think that's an achievement in itself.

We weren't paying them much, I think John Simpson would make a comment it was probably less than $1 an hour.

But they did earn their Ph.D. by whiting thesis and the like the results of our -- so that's a very important contribution I think to the welfare of this country.

And I guess that's about all I have to say. Thank you.

>> I think that brings up a point, too, that we need to keep in mind.


Questions and Answeres / Lunch

We don't write books here. We rewrite the books.

And I think that we tend to kind of think in terms of what we've done with our space programs and where do we get things and, you know, what really comes out of this.

And I think that you, what you have to understand is that go back and find a book prior to 1970 see what it says about Jupiter.

You're going to be surprised.

And it does make me feel kind of good that one of the things I said was we're going to go to Jupiter and I think the real start maybe some of the moons and we found that to be true because we're now finding out that those may be the places we need to look for life.

So we're always constantly finding something new. And I think that's what we need to keep in mind.

A lot of what we're talking about with Pioneer 10 kind of seems to be old hat now. Keep in mind, 25 years ago this wasn't known.

And so what we take as common everyday knowledge is now something which Pioneer 10 helped us to find out about. I just wanted to make a couple of comments for you real quick so we kind of know where we're going and what we're doing. First of all, we're doing something which I want you to be aware of and that is we're trying to make things more convenient for you.

Waiting in the wings literally we have bags for you. And everyone will get one of those when we leave. We just figured that in previous conferences, we've given them out at the beginning and when we give them out at the beginning, you've got to carry them around the rest of the day and you've got to figure out a place to lay them and somebody may pick up somebody else's and the whole nine yards.

We'll give them out to you at the end of the day, when you get ready to leave we're going to give you those. Also included in that are more buttons and I know people love buttons so we're going to have plenty of buttons for you.

And let me give you a little flavor of some of the things that we're going to be putting in here. Here's one of the original booklets that dealt with the Pioneers.

We've got some of the plaques and actually just got in literally hot off the press everybody here is going to get a nice reproduction of the plaque and so you'll be able to take those home with you and their even anodized and they're real nice. We've got other things. We talked about Pioneer 10 making its maneuver about a month or so ago.

What's kind of neat about that is the fact that we actually had to turn off the radios for the first time in 25 years. And they have been operating beautifully and when they made the maneuver there was about an hour and a half in which we wondered if they were going to come back on.

And when you figure out the outside temperature of the spacecraft is probably pretty close to zero, you want to know how cold that is, how closed is absolute zero? Okay, it's minus 273 Celsius for those of you who are Fahrenheit freaks because we grew up with it, about 459 degrees below zero. That's pretty cold.

And you think about that, electronics generally don't likes cold and we're also talking about 1960s technology that was being turned on and off.

And low and behold, the little Energizer Bunny came back on. It keeps on ticking.

One of the things that you may have noticed out there on the thing on the registration is the we're going to give I was model of Pioneer 10 which you can go home and promptly assemble and I will be around here to help people on that because people have put it together and they told me they've done pretty good. Let me show you what it looks like.

This is the colorized version, Ted Turner got to it. You can, the one that we gave you is black and white. You can color it up any way you want to. But I think I might suggest that if you have a little time after the program today, run up -- because just one spacecraft is hanging in there with the Velex 1 and the Voyager spacecraft and all the famous aviation firsts is Pioneer 10 and you can see what an original Pioneer 10 looked like and the whole idea is it's a great educational tool because you have the kids put it together, they learn a little bit about engineering, how it works, and also you can talk about the parts as you put them together.

Now, one of the suggestions I made, this is also on our Web site so you can download it, put it in a color printer and you get the nice color version.

But I also suggest that you do it like a real spacecraft to assemble. Give it to different teams in your room and have it assemble, the one group does the antenna, one group does the main body and so on down the line.

You do two things: You teach the kids how to work together and you teach them how a real spacecraft goes together because keep in mind, the instruments which are developed are not built in the same place they're built in all kinds of different locations in the United States and they all come together and low and behold they fit together beautiful, at least I hope so. Incidentally, we do have some of the original instruments of the Pioneer program up here you to take a look at to give you a feeling of what some of those things look like.

These are included in your kit and we hope you go home and try to make these up and there are all kinds of things you can do with that.

This is, for example, what the dish antenna looks like before you assemble it and we'll show you how to cut it out. We've got a whole number of other things in here for you, a lot of nice NASA publications. This is one that I like.

Doesn't like look like very much on the outside because they put a black and white cover.

But for those of you who are educators, all the planets are there and they're all in color.

We've got a lot of things we'll give you and hopefully you'll be able to take back with you and make some good use out of. Also on our Web site there are some lab exercises you can do for example, talking about the speed of polite and how long it takes to communicate with Pioneer 10.

You can go back to your school and find out if Fred is right. Fred will be gone and you won't be able to get ahold of Fred. At any rate, we have those and I want you to be aware of it. If anyone has tried to put the model together, if you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer hem for you.

I'll try to get you out of here a little earlier because I know that you all probably like to get your lunch and be able to not have to really rush to do it.

Just for your information, I've been told that we have a really nice, brand-new restaurant that opened up at the other end of the building.

Now, none of you have passes, well, a few of you may have passes to get through the building.

You'll have to go out the door, make a right, and go down to the other end of the building.

You'll see the new restaurant is down there. There are also some maps showing you where there are some restaurants.

They're all, again, mostly go down to the right and go to the end of the block and make a left and go up to the other building.

However, with the rain you may want to just kind of stay in the building today.

So we would like to just give you a little break here and maybe let you go get out of here a few minutes early. Larry, you have something to say?

>> Larry: Before you go, there's one more announcement I wanted to make. And when I introduced those gentlemen that were so useful and helpful, I overlooked one. I want to recognize him.

And he's a gentleman who helped us with the Deep Space Network and tracking, helped schedule the tracking.

And he's a very important fellow and I'd like, why don't you stand up, Bob Ryan.

Okay? Now.

>> One last thing, anybody have a tag on, feel free to ask them questions and they'll be free to give you answers. We'll let you go off for lunch. We'll see you back here at 1:00. You're scheduled to be back 1:30. You've got plenty of time and also again, keep in mind some of the other stores and offices we have around here.

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