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Emily LakdawallaMarch 11, 2011

LPSC 2011: Wanted: Pioneer 10 & 11 digital data

This is both a Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) update and a public service announcement. Ted Stryk posted a blog entry yesterday summarizing the work that he presented at the LPSC poster session on Tuesday, March 8. He's been working for years to locate the original Pioneer 10 and 11 image data from the Jupiter and Saturn encounters. He doesn't mean photos that were produced from the data, which are more widely available; he means numerical data, which, for Pioneer, would most likely be in the form of a matrix of numbers printed out on some yellowed paper sitting in some institution's library or some scientist's personal files.

Wanted: Pioneer data in digital form

Ted Stryk

Wanted: Pioneer data in digital form
This image of Titan was obtained during the Pioneer 11 flyby on September 1, 1979. Like many Pioneer 11 images, the original digital data is not available or at least has proven difficult to find.

Before LPSC, Ted visited the library at NASA Ames Research Center in the hopes of finding some of these missing digital data. He didn't find the treasure trove of digital data that he was hoping to. But he did find some higher-quality photos and a few bits and pieces of digital data. His poster includes some of this material in combination with some previous work. The caption below indicates how many of these images were made from digital rather than scanned photo data, which is not many!

Lunar and Planetary Science Conference poster by Ted Stryk on Pioneer images

Scanned material and raw data courtesy NASA/Ames Research Center. Processed images © Ted Stryk.

Lunar and Planetary Science Conference poster by Ted Stryk on Pioneer images
Ted Stryk presented this poster at the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (his abstract is here

Each image is designated by a letter. Here is a guide to the images based on those letters

A. P11 image C5 (Jupiter) Scans
B. P11 image C7 (Jupiter) Scans
C. P11 images C1 and C2 (Jupiter) Scans
D. P11 images D1 and C2 (Jupiter) Scans
E. P11 image D16 (Jupiter) Scans
F. P11 image D19 (Jupiter) Scans
G. P11 image D7 (Io) Digital.
H. P10 image A24 (Ganymede) Digital.
I. P11 image D3 (Jupiter) Scans
J. P11 image F7 (Mimas transiting Saturn) Scans
K. P11 image F12 (Saturnian Rings) Digital.
L. P10 image B38 (Jupiter with "Little Red Spot") Scans
M. P10 image B39 (Jupiter with "Little Red Spot") Scans
N. P11 mosaic using data from images F33, F19, and F12-F5 (Saturn) Mix of digital data and scans.
O. P10 image A2 (Jupiter -- Great Red Spot) Scan

Credit: Scanned material and raw data courtesy NASA/Ames Research Center. Processed images: Ted Stryk

Coincidentally, this week another amateur, Ricardo Nunes, pointed from to a website he's put together summarizing the Pioneer mission imaging of Jupiter and Saturn, including the best versions of images that he could find and process. It's a very thorough summary.

Read more: Jupiter's moons, Io, pretty pictures, Titan, data art (was amateur image processing), Pioneer 10 and 11, Saturn's moons, Saturn, explaining image processing, Mimas, conference report, Jupiter

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Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

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