Cassini Recorded Weird Sounds Flowing Between Saturn and Enceladus: the Moon Scientists Say Could Support Life

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 - 11:58AM
Space
Solar System
Tuesday, 10 July 2018 - 11:58AM
Cassini Recorded Weird Sounds Flowing Between Saturn and Enceladus: the Moon Scientists Say Could Support Life
< >
Image Credit: David Seal/NASA/Public Domain
During its final orbits around Saturn, which culminated in a fiery, destructive Grand Finale, Cassini managed to pick up something remarkable: the sound of electromagnetic energy flowing between Saturn and its moon EnceladusNASA has compressed the original recording from 16 minutes to 30 seconds and made it available for anyone to listen to (see below):



Normally, it takes a medium like air or water to transmit sound energy, but in this case the energy was being transmitted by waves of plasma that connect Saturn and Enceladus. According to  Ali Sulaiman, a planetary scientist associated with the research: "Enceladus is this little generator going around Saturn, and we know it is a continuous source of energy. Now we find that Saturn responds by launching signals in the form of plasma waves, through the circuit of magnetic field lines connecting it to Enceladus hundreds of thousands of miles away."


One of the chief reasons Enceladus is so energetic is that it's consistently shooting out giant plumes of water vapor, thanks to geological activity happening beneath its surface. These clouds of water turn into different forms of plasma after becoming ionized and interact with Saturn's magnetosphere, which has created a unique environment for scientists to study the properties of plasma, including "heavier" and "lighter" plasma. In fact, Enceladus' main plume pumps about 200 pounds of water vapor per second into Saturn, roughly the same as an active comet.

This planetary 'plasma laboratory' was studied closely during Cassini's mission, but there's still more to learn about Enceladus, which is still considered one of the best candidates for hosting life in our solar system. However, Saturn and Enceladus aren't the only planetary bodies with strange and haunting sounds coming from them—NASA has compiled the radio signals coming from Jupiter, Titan, and even Earth and translated them into audio tracks you can listen to.
Science
Science News
Space
Solar System
No