A NASA spacecraft has captured curious noises coming from Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon.
Data captured as the Juno mission flew within 645 miles (1,038 km) of mysterious space objects was turned into an audio clip by scientists.
Image of Jupiter and its largest moon, Ganymede, captured by the Cassini spacecraftCredit: AFP
The resulting 50-second track of screeches and bleeps was presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans last week.
Juno collected the data on June 7 as it flew through the moon’s magnetosphere – the portion of its atmosphere where the magnetic field is strongest.
The spacecraft’s Waves instrument, which tunes in to electric and magnetic radio waves, collected data that was later turned into the audio track.
It was the closest flyby any spacecraft has made to the moon since Nasa’s Galileo spacecraft made its penultimate close approach back in May 2000.
“This soundtrack is just wild enough to make you feel as if you were riding along as Juno sails past Ganymede for the first time in more than two decades,” said Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton.
“If you listen closely, you can hear the abrupt change to higher frequencies around the midpoint of the recording, which represents entry into a different region in Ganymede’s magnetosphere.”
With a diameter of 3,280 miles (5,262 km), Ganymede is larger than both Mercury and the dwarf planet Pluto.
It’s the biggest moon in our solar system by some distance and the only moon with its own magnetic field.
As a result, it’s possible to record “noises” during flybys that you won’t hear on other moons.
The audio came from shifting electric and magnetic frequencies recorded by Juno into the audible range.
Detailed analysis and modelling of the data from Waves is still ongoing to decipher some of the mysterious sounds.
“It is possible the change in the frequency shortly after closest approach is due to passing from the nightside to the dayside of Ganymede,” said William Kurth of the University of Iowa, co-investigator for the Waves investigation.
Juno launched in 2011 on a mission to shed new light on Jupiter and its turbulent atmosphere.
It’s the first spacecraft to peer below the dense cover of clouds to answer questions about the gas giant and the origins of our solar system.
Previously planned to plunge into Jupiter after completing its 35th and final orbit on July 30, 2021, Juno’s mission has now been extended to 2025.
Its new mission will see it perform close flybys of three of Jupiter’s largest moons.
Juno launched in 2011 on a mission to shed new light on Jupiter and its turbulent atmosphereCredit: EPA
In other news, Samsung is reportedly killing off its beloved Note smartphone after more than a decade.
Apple has announced that it will let customers fix their own iPhones for the first time starting next year.
The UK is fighting an epidemic of hack attacks targeting consumers and businesses, according to officials.
And, NASA has slammed Russia after a missile it fired into one of its own satellites forced the space station to perform an emergency swerve.
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