NASA unveiled a 50-second audio clip from Juno’s Ganymede flyby at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting on Friday. Generated from data captured on June 7th during the spacecraft’s closest approach yet to Ganymede, the sound, similar to a robot or dial-up modem, is the latest fascinating return from the Juno mission’s years-long exploration of the Solar System’s largest gas giant and its moons.
The audio comes from data gathered using Juno’s Waves instrument, designed to measure radio and plasma waves detected in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, the bubble of charged particles that envelop the gas giant. Ganymede is Jupiter’s largest moon and the only moon in the Solar System to have a magnetosphere of its own. The emissions data collected from Ganymede was shifted to an audio range to make the recording, according to the agency.
“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,” Juno principal investigator Scott Bolden of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said in a press release.
Days prior to the audio being retrieved, NASA announced that the Juno spacecraft was going to be within 645 miles of the surface of Ganymede, the closest it has ever been to it. The flyby provided a unique opportunity to study the moon, which hadn’t seen a spacecraft approach it this closely since NASA’s Galileo probe sailed past in 2000.
Scientists are continuing to study the Waves data collected during the Juno flyby and attempting to decode what frequency changes present within the recording mean.
In addition to the audio track, other speakers at AGU provided updates on their latest findings of the Juno mission, including further exploration of Jupiter’s magnetosphere. According to new findings gathered from a magnetic anomaly near Jupiter’s equator known as the Great Blue Spot, Jupiter has experienced a change in its magnetic field during the last five years, and the Great Blue Spot is slowly drifting eastward at approximately 2 inches per second, taking 350 years to make its way around the planet.
The more familiar Great Red Spot, a violent anticyclone just south of the equator, drifts the opposite way at a faster pace, circling the planet every four and a half years.