WiFi and FM Radio Signals Are Coming Out of Jupiter's Moon
A decade ago in 2011, humans launched the Juno spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter. It took the vessel five years to reach the gas giant, which it now circles in a polar orbit. The mission was pretty straightforward: Observe Jupiter’s composition, magnetic field, and gravitational field.
This month, NASA revealed its spacecraft picked up FM radio signals coming from Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s dozens of moons (it has 79 moons).
The Juno spacecraft was passing through the polar regions of Jupiter when it crossed an area where Jupiter’s magnetic field connects with Ganymede, one of its moons. There, the spacecraft picked up a very familiar signal: decametric radio emission, more commonly known on Earth as WiFi. It was the source of the FM radio signals picked up by the spacecraft.
NASA ambassador Patrick Wiggins explains the phenomenon. “It is not E.T.” he says in an interview with Fox. “It’s more of a natural function.”
Humans have been aware of Jupiter’s radio emissions since the late 1950s, but this is the first time scientists have encountered FM radio signals being produced around the planet.
The discovery was lucky, considering Juno was supposed to be deorbited and deliberately crashed into Jupiter’s atmosphere hadn’t NASA extended its mission on January 8, 2021. Juno will continue studying the gas giant until 2025.