Is there anybody out there?...
With the recent demise after 30 years in deep space of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft it got me thinking. It must be pretty lonely being an unmanned spacecraft.
Launched on 2 March 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to travel through the Asteroid belt, and the first spacecraft to make direct observations and obtain close-up images of Jupiter. For a long time famed as the most remote object ever made by man, Pioneer 10 is now over 7.6 billion miles away.
Pioneer 10 will continue to coast silently as a ghost ship through deep space into interstellar space, heading generally for the red star Aldebaran, which forms the eye of Taurus (The Bull). Aldebaran is about 68 light years away and it will take Pioneer over 2 million years to reach it.
Attached to our lonely friend is a gold plague - our intergallatic calling card. Looking at a picture of it now it makes me wonder what an alien race would make of it should they ever come across it. I could imagine one green-skinned alien nudging his neighbour green-skinned alien and sniggering, "These Earth people don't have very long cocks or big tits, do they?"