NASA Records Weird Sound Of Plasma Moving From Saturn To Its Moon Enceladus

Posted: Jul 11 2018, 10:35pm CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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NASA Records Weird Sound of Plasma Moving from Saturn to its Moon Enceladus
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The observations show for the first time that the plasma waves travel on magnetic field lines between Saturn and Enceladus.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has detected a surprisingly powerful and dynamic interaction of plasma waves moving from Saturn to its rings and its moon Enceladus. It is the first detection of its kind and shows how plasma waves travel on magnetic field lines between Saturn and Enceladus. These magnetic field lines allow energy to move back and forth between the two bodies.

Plasma is called "the fourth state of matter" and it is not the gas, liquid or solid. These particular intense plasma waves were detected during Cassini’s one of the closest encounters to Saturn and picked up by spacecraft’s Radio Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument. Later, researchers converted the plasma record into an audio file that we can hear. It is similar to electromagnetic waves that can be translated into music and amplified and played through a speaker.

Encelauds is among few worlds in our solar system that are thought to have liquid water oceans beneath their icy surface and are still geologically active. Enceladus is tidally locked with Saturn, meaning it always keeps the same face toward the planet.

“Enceladus is this little generator going around Saturn, and we know it is a continuous source of energy," said Ali Sulaiman, a planetary scientist at the University of Iowa and a member of the RPWS team. "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."

The data from Enceladus was obtained on September 2, 2017 just days before the Cassini spacecraft crashed into Saturn’s atmosphere.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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