What is the sound of the moon? Finally, the Juno spacecraft has provided NASA with an answer. Jupiter’s giant moon Ganymede was visited by Juno in June. It collected data on electric and magnetic radio waves with its Waves sensor, which returned some fantastic pictures.
NASA converted the Waves data into an audio range that humans can understand. Unfortunately, the result sounds frighteningly similar to something you’d hear from an old dial-up modem or possibly the soundtrack to a creepy ’80s sci-fi alien film.
Jupiter’s magnetosphere, the area around the gas giant, influenced by its magnetic field, is the subject of Waves. Jupiter’s magnetosphere, according to NASA, “is the solar system’s biggest object. It would appear two to three times the size of the sun or moon to spectators on Earth if it burned in visible wavelengths.”
Ganymede possesses its own magnetosphere, making it the largest of Jupiter’s 79 known moons. Although we can’t directly observe magnetic fields, the audio version of Juno’s experience brings the concept closer to home.
In a NASA statement on Friday, Juno lead investigator Scott Bolton said, “This soundtrack is just crazy enough to make you feel as if you were riding along as Juno flies over Ganymede for the first time in more than two decades.” “At roughly the middle of the audio, you can hear a dramatic transition to higher frequencies, which represents entry into a different section of Ganymede’s magnetosphere.”
NASA has a penchant for converting data into music, a process known as data sonification, which allows humans to interact with space missions in new ways. Listen in on Juno’s approach to Jupiter in 2016 or hear the haunting sounds of black holes and galaxies.
Ganymede’s not-so-soothing tones won’t put you to sleep. Still, they may bring back memories of the early days of the internet, when your biggest problem was mom picking up the phone as you updated your GeoCities Buffy the Vampire Slayer fansite.