Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Apparently When The Parker Solar Probe Flew Past Venus On The Way To The Sun It Heard A Faint Radio Signal

 Been there, done that.

First up, Parker from Georgia's own Gwinnett Daily Post, May 4:

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Flies by Venus and Discovers a Low-Frequency Radio Signal

The Parker Solar Probe is on a mission to study the sun, but it keeps discovering new, intriguing things about our mysterious planetary neighbor Venus.

The NASA spacecraft flew by Venus last summer and detected a natural radio signal from Earth's twin. This signal revealed that the probe actually passed through the upper atmosphere of Venus, collecting the first direct measurement of it in almost 30 years.

Scientists were surprised to discover that the Venusian atmosphere looks very different now, and they published their findings Monday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The solar mission, which launched in 2018, is intended to study the sun and unravel some of its mysteries. The probe will travel through the sun's atmosphere over the course of seven years and come closer to the surface of our star than any spacecraft before it.

Venus is instrumental to the probe's success. The spacecraft uses the gravity of Venus as it swings around the planet, called a gravity assist, to help bend the probe's orbit and bring it closer and closer to the sun.

During one of these Venusian flybys on July 11, 2020, the probe collected evidence that Venus' upper atmosphere goes through some unusual changes that are influenced by the solar cycle, or our sun's 11-year activity cycle....


All the slingshotting has accelerated the probe, from c|net, May 2:

NASA solar probe becomes fastest object ever built as it 'touches the sun'

The Parker Solar Probe was clocked at over 330,000 miles per hour as it zipped through the sun's outer atmosphere....

So, good on Parker, moving fast, setting records.

However....NASA's explanation of the meaning of the radio signal may just be bafflegab. There is precedent.

In 1977 NASA launched the space probes Voyageur I and Voyageur II. Each of the probes carried "Golden Records": greetings from earth, pictures, sounds, and music, including Chuck Berry, Bach and Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark was the night, Cold was the ground".

 As reported by the American NBC television network the following year:

Kreeg Antwoord: [ coughing ] You see, it all started on August 20th, 1977, when NASA put up a recording of the sounds of Earth on Voyager I. A two-hour long tape included, uh, natural sounds of animals, a French poem by Gaugliere, a passage from the Koran in Arabic, messages from President Carter, United Nations Secretary Kurt Waldheim, music — everything from classical to Chuck Berry.

Maxine Universe: Uh — and you’re saying that the, uh — another civilization has found the tape?

Cocuwa: Yes. They’ve sent us a message that actually proves it. It may be just four simple words, but it is the FIRST positive proof that other intelligent beings inhabit the universe.

Maxine Universe: Uh — what are the four words, Cocuwa?

Cocuwa: The four words that came to us from outer space — the FOUR words that will appear on the cover of Time Magazine next week — are: [ he holds up the magazine” “Send More Chuck Berry”.

In 2016 the Financial Times did a story on Blind Willie Johnson that resulted in the quintessential FT Letter to the Editor:

From the Financial Times, Letters:  

Message from space was ‘Send more Chuck Berry’

March 4, 2016
In David Cheal’s story on Blind Willie Johnson’s song “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” and its inclusion in the disc attached to Voyager 1 space probe in 1977, he quotes Steve Martin as joking that a message was soon received from another world that read “Send more Blind Willie Johnson”. (The Life of a Song, Life & Arts, February 26.) This is not correct. The joke was made in a skit on Saturday Night Live on April 22 1978, in which Martin’s character Cocuwa, a psychic, reported that the message received was “Send more Chuck Berry”....

Correct and correct. Typical FT reader.

There is only one request the universe is sending out and in response to the real signal picked up by Parker, here's Chuck Berry to answer their actual plea and cool the Venusian's fever:

"Oh my, but that little country boy could play"
(Mr. Berry wasn't really a country boy, he grew up in a middle-class St. Louis neighborhood called The Ville)