When we hear about radio waves and other kinds of signals coming from space, the first thing that pops into the mind is that aliens are trying to “wave” at us. The exciting and funny thing is that we have all the right to speculate!
According to Space.com, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has just intercepted mysterious radio waves emitted by one of Jupiter’s numerous moons: the highly-volcanic Io world.
There could be multiple sources for the radio waves
The team of scientists involved in the new findings reveal that the signal rotates like a lighthouse, while NASA’s Juno probe is able to detect it only when the sound is heading towards it. We can make a comparison with quantum physics here, as electrons can behave in a similar way: they are “forced” to behave like particles and not as waves when an observer is watching them.
Also, the new data regarding what’s happening on Io reveals that the electrons responsible for producing the radio waves also emit up to 23 times more energy than the scientists predicted. These electrons could be coming from the magnetic field or even solar wind.
Jupiter is known to have a few traits that separate it from any other planet from our Solar System. Besides being the biggest of all the eight planets, Jupiter also has a very captivating magnetic field — even some of its 79 moons are captured by it.
While there’s no compelling data indicating that extraterrestrial life forms are causing the radio waves on Io, we must also consider another aspect: Jupiter’s moon has extreme temperatures on its surface. There’s no wonder why Io is often referred to as the celestial body of fire and ice: the surface temperature averages about minus 130 Celsius, while the volcanoes can even reach 1,649 Celsius. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that life forms like the ones we see on our planet would be living in such a place.