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In this illustration, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft flies through the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The spacecraft is shown to the right of Jupiter (right), dwarfed by the planet's size. The white line representing Pioneer 10's path curls around Earth and past Jupiter. At the center, the Sun is represented in bright, luminous white and orange, while streaks of red, orange, purple, and black represent space. The image is dotted with spots of purple, blue, yellow, and white.

Pioneer 10 Crosses the Asteroid Belt (Illustration)

If spacecraft are to visit the outer solar system, they must cross the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The Pioneer mission was faced with the question of just how dangerous this asteroid belt would be to a spacecraft passing through it.

Image Credit: NASA

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