Imagining Ganymede, the icy moon of Jupiter and the largest moon in our solar system, can be quite a challenge. (I’m still at, “Whoa, that’s a big moon.”) Realize that’s a whole different story, and scientists are still working on it. Whether you are looking to learn more about the gigantic moon or unravel its scientific mysteries, you are now “listening” to what Ganymede looks like in space.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory this month released the 50-second audio track, which you can listen to below, created with data captured by the Juno spacecraft during its close flight over Ganymede on June 7. Data for the recording was collected with the Juno’s Waves instrument, which measures the electrical and magnetic waves produced in Jupiter’s magnetosphere. NASA then shifted the frequency of the collected broadcasts into the audio range to create the audio track.
Scott Bolton, Juno Mission Principal Investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, presented the recording at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. Launched in 2011, the Juno mission aims to advance our understanding of the formation of giant planets and the role they played in the creation of the solar system.
“This soundtrack is just wild enough to make you feel like you’re riding as Juno walks past Ganymede for the first time in over two decades,” Bolton said in a NASA news report. “If you listen closely, you can hear the sudden change to higher frequencies around the middle of the recording, which represents entering a different region of Ganymede’s magnetosphere.”
Juno of Ganymede’s flyby occurred on her 34th voyage around Jupiter and was the closest a spacecraft had ever reached to the solar system’s largest moon, which is larger than the planet Mercury, since the approach of the Galileo spacecraft in 2000.
The spacecraft managed to approach within 1,038 kilometers (645 miles) of Ganymede’s surface while traveling at a speed of 67,000 km / h 41,600 mph.