Science

These eerie sounds made by NASA during the flyby of Jupiter’s moon Europa are haunting

A creepy new video lets us hear what NASA’s Juno spacecraft experienced as it flew past Jupiter’s icy moon Europa last month.

The 11-second audio track expresses plasma frequency variations using data collected by Juno over 90 minutes as it flew over Europe on September 29th. Converting this data into sound – data processing – allows us to hear variations in the plasma frequency. the frequency of plasma waves observed by Juno near Europa as the plasma density changes.

The detection of plasma waves was made by the Juno Waves instrument in the frequency range from 50 to 150 kHz, and the data collected during the flyby will help to learn more about Europa, NASA said in a statement.

Subject: Here! Our closest view of Jupiter’s oceanic moon Europa in 22 years

View of Jupiter’s moon Europa taken by NASA’s Juno mission during a close flyby of the Moon on September 29. The spacecraft was 945 miles (1,500 kilometers) above the Moon’s surface when the image was taken. (Image credit: Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing by Bjorn Jonsson CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Waves tool was designed to help scientists understand the interactions between Jupiter’s atmosphere, magnetic field, and magnetosphere, and to understand Jupiter’s auroras.

But it can also be useful for learning more about Europa, which scientists believe has a large subsurface ocean. Measuring changes in the density of the charged particle gas or plasma surrounding Europa can provide insight into the Moon’s magnetic field and, in turn, provide insight into the structure of the Moon’s interior.

The outliers show that the plasma density near Europa ranges from 60 to 120 electrons per cubic centimeter, but with a very short peak of about 300 electrons per cubic centimeter just at Juno’s closest approach to Europa, according to NASA.

Juno entered orbit around Jupiter in July 2016. This flyby is part of an extended mission that began in 2021. Juno flew by Ganymede in June 2021, for which NASA also created a cool audio clip.

Juno will also fly past volcanically active Io, the closest of the Galilean moons, in late 2023 and early 2024 as Jupiter’s massive gravity pulls Juno closer to the planet with every revolution of the spacecraft.

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