NASA Contacts Pioneer 10 Spacecraft

NASA scientists said Sunday they have contacted the Pioneer 10 spacecraft, ending fears that the robotic probe had gone silent 29 years into a mission that has carried it more than 7 billion miles from Earth.

A radio antenna outside Madrid received a signal from Pioneer 10 on Saturday, marking the first time the spacecraft had been heard from since Aug. 19. The spacecraft was launched March 2, 1972.

"Pioneer 10 lives on," project manager Larry Lasher said in a status report posted Sunday on the mission's Web site.