NASA released an audio recording containing the sounds of Ganymede. Credit: NASA/Juno

NASA Spacecraft Records Eerie Sound Emitting From Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede

NASA released a 50-second audio recording created from data obtained during Juno's last flyby near Ganymede. It is the largest moon in the Solar System and one of the most important research targets for astronomers. During the last rendezvous, Juno approached the satellite at a record 1,038 kilometers, while moving at a speed of 67 thousand kilometers per hour. The spacecraft recorded the radiation from the satellite in the radio range.

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What makes Ganymede so special?

Ganymede is of particular interest to scientists. This large moon is even larger than Mercury and has a core and a mantle. Scientists believe that there is a massive liquid ocean hidden under a layer of ice below the surface, which makes it the most promising target for the search of alien life in the Solar System. Also, Ganymede has its own magnetic field, which no other satellite of the solar system has anymore.

Juno made its recent flight on June 7, approaching Ganymede for the first time since the Galileo flyby in 2000. The probe flew over the surface of the moon at an altitude of 1,038 kilometers at an average speed of 67,000 kilometers per hour.

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In the process, it measured electrical and magnetic waves in Ganymede’s magnetosphere (which, in turn, is submerged in Jupiter’s magnetosphere), it took incredible rare images and recorded the radiation from the satellite in the radio range. As a result, NASA scientists shifted the vibrations to convert them into an audio track.

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Hear the sounds of Ganymede

Data is translated into audio frequencies for more than pure entertainment. In this way, small details can be brought to light that might have otherwise been overlooked. Scientists have previously recorded the sounds of the solar system during planetary missions and using probes such as Voyager.

Mission Chief Scott Bolton noted that a sharp increase in frequency can be heard around the middle of the recording – a sign that at that moment the station moved to another region of the satellite’s magnetosphere.

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Besides Ganymede’s sounds, what’s new on Jupiter?

Of course, the main focus of Juno’s mission has been Jupiter and the discoveries in this line of work never cease to amaze. The most recent data indicates that over the past 5 years, the magnetic field of Jupiter has changed greatly.

The Great Blue Spot equatorial magnetic anomaly is moving eastward at a speed of 4 centimeters per second relative to the rest of the planet’s inner surface. It can be assumed that the Great Blue Spot will complete a revolution in 350 years.

Jupiter's dust ring. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Jupiter’s dust ring. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists also received a new photo of Jupiter’s main dust ring. It consists of particles released by the satellites of the planet Metis and Adrastea. “Juno” photographed the ring from the inside against the background of the stars, capturing part of the constellation “Perseus” through the lens. It is surprising that even at this distance the constellations look exactly the same as from any point on the Earth.

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The latest extension of the mission

Juno reached Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. It will stay in the planet’s orbit for several more years and will continue to transmit new images and data. The mission was extended for a second time earlier this year and we honestly expect that we will see another extension in 2025 unless any of the instruments or vital mechanisms malfunction.

A new image from the JunoCam of two enormous rotating storms on Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS, Kevin M. Gill CC BY
A new image from the JunoCam of two enormous rotating storms on Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS, Kevin M. Gill CC BY

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Sources:

NASA. (n.d.). Audio of juno’s ganymede flyby.
NASA. (n.d.). NASA’s Juno spacecraft ‘hears’ Jupiter’s moon.
Serrano, J. (2021, December 20). NASA debuts audio of what Jupiter’s Ganymede Moon sounds like. Gizmodo.
Starr, M. (n.d.). NASA releases ghostly sounds recorded at ganymede by the juno probe. ScienceAlert.
The Washington Post. (2021, December 19). NASA releases new photos of Jupiter – and a recording of its moon that sounds like R2-D2.

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Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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