The Pioneer Ii is on the threshold of giving man his first close-up glimpse of the solar system's second largest planet, Saturn.
Wide shots of computer-corrected picture of Saturn; Shots of Titan - bad quality as received; Animation of electrical storm; Reporter; NASA animation of planned journey of Pioneer; Shots of Saturn.
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Background: The Pioneer Ii is on the threshold of giving man his first close-up glimpse of the solar system's second largest planet, Saturn. The pictures beamed back, and corrected by a computer, showed the rings of Saturn sharply defined. Delicate shadings on the planet and even Titan, the planet's largest moon were seen. But there have been technical problems on Earth - computer breakdowns and bad weather at receiving stations, but the biggest problem was a giant electrical storm on the Sun. The storm is blocking some of the weak signals that are coming back from Pioneer over a billion miles of space. Those pictures being received since the storm have had to be corrected by a computer. On Saturday Pioneer II will slide down through the rings of Saturn and if all goes well, it will also get a glimpse of Titan.