An American spacecraft has entered the gravitational pull of Jupiter on its mission to take photographs of the giant planet.
GV Pioneer 10 lift-off from Cape Canaveral (2 shots)
SV ANIMATION SHOT, Pioneer's orbit around Earth
SV ANIMATION SHOT Pioneer in flight between Earth and Moon
SV ANIMATION of asteroid belt showing flight path
CU Asteroid floats past the Sun
SV ANIMATION showing flight path to Jupiter during 4th orbit
SV ANIMATION of Pioneer 10 passing Jupiter (2 shots)
SV ANIMATION of Jupiter 10 in orbit around Jupiter
Initials BB/1803 BL/AW/BB/1814
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Background: An American spacecraft has entered the gravitational pull of Jupiter on its mission to take photographs of the giant planet.
Pioneer 10, launched in March last year, is due to pass 81,000 miles (1129,600 kilometres) above Jupiter's cloud-banked surface on December 3. After a journey of some 400-million miles (804 million kilometres) an hour. But it's expected to triple its speed as it is pulled in by the force of Jupiter's gravity.
Technicians at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) laboratories at Mountain View in California, said the spacecraft was sending back readings on radiation blasts from Jupiter. They said that if the tiny craft, weighing about 570 pounds (256 kilograms), survived the destructive blasts of radiation, it would hurtle on past Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to become the first man-made object to enter "outer space".
The space scientists said the first radiations readings from Pioneer 10 indicated that it should survive, and send back photographs of Jupiter, which is ringed with vivid bands of blue, green and yellow gases.
This film shows Pioneer 10's blast off, and animations produced by NASA of the spacecraft in flight.