The magnetosphere of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede looks like a dial-up modem in an audio clip recently released by NASA.
This month, the team behind the space agency Juno The mission has released new data on the spacecraft, which has been circling Jupiter and its many moons since July 2016. One of the most fascinating new sources of information on the Jupiter The system is a 49-second audio track generated from data collected by Juno’s Waves instrument. The sounds were discussed at this year’s American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held in New Orleans and online Dec. 13-17.
“This soundtrack is just wild enough to make you feel like you’re rolling as Juno cruises past Ganymede for the first time in over two decades,” said Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. , Texas, said in a Statement from NASA.
Related: Cruise by Jupiter and its giant moon Ganymede in this stunning Juno flyby video
The creaking sounds in the audio clip represent the electric and magnetic radio waves emitted by Ganymede, according to a statement from NASA describing the recently released data. The Juno spacecraft performed a close flyby of the Jovian moon on June 7, during which time the Waves instrument collected raw frequency data which the Juno team then transferred into the audio range.
“If you listen carefully, you can hear the abrupt shift to higher frequencies around the middle of the recording, which represents entering a different region of Ganymede’s magnetosphere,” Bolton said.
Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system and it is even larger than Mercury and Pluto, according to NASA. Scientists believe that, much like Earth, this world has both a magnetosphere and a saltwater ocean.
A magnetosphere is a region of charged particles that surrounds many planets, including Jupiter, but such a structure had never been found around a moon before Jupiter’s first robotic visitor, the Galileo spacecraft, detected Ganymede. (Coincidentally, Tuesday, December 28 also marked the 21st anniversary of another major Galileo discovery at Ganymede: auroraswhich are created by charged particles hitting the magnetosphere.)
The new audio clip is a bit scientific, but it’s not the first time a spacecraft has picked up sounds from Ganymede’s magnetosphere. According to NASA, Galileo has also captured “in hissing and static sounds” caused by this region around the moon Jovan.
Juno’s June 2021 flyby was the first time since Galileo approached two decades ago that a spacecraft had managed to get close to Ganymede. At its closest, the Juno spacecraft was less than 645 miles (1,040 kilometers) from the surface of Ganymede and was traveling at about 41,600 mph (67,000 km/h), according to the space agency.
Juno continues to explore Jupiter and its moons beyond its primary mission timeline, which completed in July 2021. The spacecraft is currently on an extended mission until September 2025 or the end of its life.
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