The Pioneer and Voyager NASA missions launched in the 1970’s have long since completed their initial objectives. They photographed the outer planets and made amazing discoveries.

Now they have left our solar system – the first man-made objects to do this – and have started their never-ending journey towards other stars. Pioneer 10 is estimated [as of September 9th 2012] to be 10 billion miles [16 billion kilometres] from Earth and heading towards the constellation of Taurus and in the general direction of the star Aldebaran.

Pioneer 10 [and 11 and the Voyager probes] are all travelling approximately at the same speed of about 27,000 miles per hour and will take about 2 million years to reach Aldebaran which is 68 light years away. These distances are enormous to our minds but represent a tiny fraction of time in terms of stars, galaxies and the Universe.

This raises two interesting scenarios. Firstly will mankind survive 2 million years? I doubt it! But our space-probes will and will be our legacy for the future. They will certainly outlive us!

Secondly all these satellites carry information about the human race and our relative position in the Milky way. The Pioneer missions carry a gold plaque with pictorial information whereas the Voyager probes carry a disc with pictorial, audio and video depictions of life on Earth.

Gold plaque on Pioneer 10

Gold plaque on Pioneer 10

voyager disc

Disc on Voyager missions


So our story will live on well after our demise, but the fascinating question is whether someone or something in the future will see this information. And what might they do with it?

I have imagined such a scenario and have written the first two volumes of the trilogy – Quest of the Dicepterons. Take an amazing journey into space and discover life elsewhere. Then try to imagine the unimaginable!