NASA scientists stunned as Jupiter moon Ganymede has its own field

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Some twenty years down the line, in the year 1996, the largest moon of Jupiter known as Ganymede astonished the scientists when the astronomers got to learn that it is the only moon which builds up its own magnetic field. This unique magnetic field surrounding the Jupiter’s moon unlike any other planet in our solar system has brought to light some newly received information.

The new data has been received from the Galileo spacecraft of NASA that went past the planet Venus and two asteroids after its launch and spent around eight whole years orbiting around the biggest planet of the Solar system and gathering information about it. At that time, all the received data from the spacecraft had not been analyzed. A team of scientists now collaborated and decided to look back into it again.

The Galileo spacecraft of NASA, which is a bit bigger than a completely grown-up giraffe, had its initial flyby of the moon about two decades ago. The spacecraft worked by sending back spates of discoveries on the moons of the gas giant. The mission ceased in the year 2003. However, the newly found data from the initial flyby of the Galileo spacecraft, as detailed out in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, gave in insights regarding the environment of the moon.

The Ganymede, which is the only biggest moon in our solar system, as analyzed by the scientists could possibly have a massive liquid ocean sloshing around underneath its surface. It just could be probably a niche in which extraterrestrial life could by sheltering themselves in.

Author Glyn Collinson, the study leader from the Goddard Space Flight Centre of NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland said that they now are going back to over 20 years later in order to have a new look at some of the information, which never was published and finished the story. He further added that they discovered there is an entire piece regarding which no one knew.

In accordance with the newly received results there possibly could be a stormy scenario where particles flipped off the icy surface of the moon due to the coming in plasma rain and severe flows of plasma shoved in between the biggest planet of our solar system and its satellite because of an eruptive magnetic occurrence taking place in between the magnetic environments of the two bodies.

The Ganymede has auroras, or more accurately the northern and southern lights. The particles that are responsible for the auroras appear from the plasma that is surrounding the planet. At the time of Galileo’s initial Ganymede flyby, the spacecraft fortuitously crossed right over the auroral regions of the Jupiter satellite, as proved by the ions it witnessed raining down onto the surface of the polar cap of the moon. As believed by the researchers, such findings could prove to be the key components for unveiling the secrets about the moon, like as to why the auroras of Ganymede are so immensely bright.

Planets possessing magnetic environments known as magnetospheres were no doubt revealed and known very well. But it was never expected for a moon to possess one. Starting from its arrival at the Jupiter to the year 2000, the Galileo spacecraft made up to six targeted flybys of Jupiter’s moon with numerous instruments dedicated to gathering information about the magnetosphere of the moon.  The results also involved the Plasma Subsystem (PLS) of the spacecraft that estimated the temperature, density, and direction of the plasma flowing around the Galileo through the environment.

About the author

Rishabh Rajvanshi

Rishabh, with six years of experience in the newspaper industry, has co-founded The TeCake in 2013. Apart from writing and editing articles on Technology at The TeCake, he also contributes to other esteemed newspapers.

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