spaceSpace and Physics

Listen To The Peculiar Sounds Of Jupiter's Moon Ganymede


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockDec 20 2021, 12:18 UTC
Ganymede as seen by NASA's Juno. Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Ganymede as seen by NASA's Juno. Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Last June, NASA’s Juno spacecraft completed a close flyby of Ganymede, Jupiter, and the Solar System’s largest moon. The researchers were able to capture the closest images of the surface of the icy moon and even create a spectacular flyby video from Ganymede to Jupiter.  

Now NASA is going to add another sensorial experience to that event by releasing the audio of that close flyby. This was produced by recording the electric and magnetic radio waves produced in Jupiter’s magnetosphere and their interaction with Ganymede. The signals were then shifted to a frequency that humans can hear.


“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 Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute said in a statement. “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.” 

The rich soundscape, just out of a sci-fi movie, is still being investigated. The researchers hope to find insights into the complex magnetic environment of the Jovian system. And the change in frequencies is of particular interest. 

“It is possible the change in the frequency shortly after the closest approach is due to passing from the nightside to the dayside of Ganymede,” said William Kurth of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, lead co-investigator for the Waves investigation. 

During the incredible flyby, Juno was just 1,038 kilometers (645 miles) above the surface of Ganymede moving at 67,000 kilometers (41,600 miles) per hour relative to the Jovian moon.  

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