NASA reveals 'unsettling sounds' as Cassini flew between Saturn and its rings

NASA has revealed the first ‘unsettling’ sounds captured by its Cassini spacecraft as it traveled between Saturn and its rings. “It was a bit disorienting—we were not hearing what we expected.”

Breathtaking images from Cassini show Saturn closer than ever before

On April 26, the Cassini spacecraft made the first plunge through the gap located between Saturn and its massive rings. While traveling through the ‘void’ between the planet and its rings, scientists from NASA used the spacecrafts sensors in order to measure the dust in the area—then converted the data by measuring each dust particle that collided with the sensor into sound.

The Result? Unsettling and totally unexpected sounds: series or crackers, snarls, and scratches which are best defined as otherworldly. Maybe creepy is also right.

Ok so is that good or bad? Well, what NASA recorded starts off as static, but you can hear other distant noises that may sound as if little yellowish aliens from Saturn are using the morse code to call for help, electric sounds and other noises that are straight out of a horror movie. But scientists say that’s the sound of NOTHING.

What do you mean nothing? Well, according to experts, they expected to hear much more than just a few creepy scary noises. They expected that the region between Saturn and its rings to be filled with much more dust. But apparently, its ’empty’.

“The region between the rings and Saturn is ‘the big empty,’ apparently,” said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Cassini will stay the course, while the scientists work on the mystery of why the dust level is much lower than expected.”

The team’s analysis suggests Cassini only encountered a few particles as it crossed the gap — none larger than those in smoke (about 1micron across).

As noted by NASA, A dustier environment in the gap might have meant the spacecraft’s saucer-shaped main antenna would be needed as a shield during most future dives through the ring plane. This would have forced changes to how and when Cassini’s instruments would be able to make observations. Fortunately, it appears that the “plan B” option is no longer needed.

Had Cassini encountered more dust particles while traveling towards Saturn, the cracks, and pops would have been much more common in the recording.

“It was a bit disorienting—we weren’t hearing what we expected to hear,” said William Kurth, RPWS team lead at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. “I’ve listened to our data from the first dive several times and I can probably count on my hands the number of dust particle impacts I hear.”

Here’s a comparison audio of then Cassini crossed one of Saturn’s rings. This video represents data collected by the Radio and Plasma Wave Science instrument on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, as it crossed the plane of Saturn’s rings on Dec. 18, 2016. The instrument is able to record ring particles striking the spacecraft in its data. During this ring crossing, Cassini went through the faint, dusty ring that lies in the orbit shared by Saturnian moons Janus and Epimetheus. In this data there is a clearly audible and visible rise, peak, and fall in the number of pops and cracks that represent ring particles striking the spacecraft. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Iowa

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Featured image courtesy: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Jason Major

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7 thoughts on “NASA reveals 'unsettling sounds' as Cassini flew between Saturn and its rings

  1. Awesome work NASA!

    Kevin S, what do you think matey? Can you spin some sort of NASA conspiracy out of this?

    1. “…we weren’t hearing what we expected to hear.”
      Sooooo….you admit you are (wait for it)……..BAFFLED that your predictions were way off. Could it be also that a lot of other “things” in this universe that you scientists predicted and laid down as law could also be wrong and you just won’t admit it until there is provable evidence….not just mathematical logarithms??
      How about the “Dyson Sphere” BS…you know, the alien-built superstructure around a planet that you can’t see or hear…but because of your expectations and measurements of light dimming erratically, can only be ruled alien technology? Pfffft !!!
      Hmmm, how about them straight lines and geometric shapes on Mars?….You know….”Nature doesn’t build in straight lines or geometric shapes”….(yet here on Earth the chambered Nautilus would like to argue that, as well as any crystalline formation that falls from the sky or hangs off your ear lobe…. Hey…Buckyball anyone?)
      Things on Mars will only be proven when they are properly surveyed inch by inch by humans….not orbiting cameras and rolling robots.
      This news about near-empty space between the planet and it’s rings is sweet to hear so….Yeah, stay ‘BAFFLED’ NASA, JPL, and all you other Baff-lings.

      1. Lol S64. Awesome work.

        …..i still think they are doing an awesome job and what they discover is start they discover.

        I just want my new fan-troll Kevin S to respond. Lots of ranting i expect 😉

          1. I have a feeling he’s Had-lunch – with-sasquatch-and-he-didn’t-even-offer-to-leave-the-tip-after-I-picked-up-the-check-the-cheap-bastard loony tunes type. Can’t wait to see his stuff myself.

        1. I don’t know this Kevin guy that you mention. Is he Marlio funny or something different?

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