It is April 26, 2016, and a team of NASA scientists are observing unusual signals emanating from the distant moon of Europa – just one of dozens of mysterious satellites orbiting the Red Giant of Jupiter. The signals have traveled more than 390 million miles across the Solar System, but they are unmistakable: a vast plume appears to have burst forth from Europa’s surface.
The team conducted the observations at W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, which is home to some of the largest telescopes on Earth. The observatory is stationed at the summit of dormant Maunakea volcano. At an altitude of 13,796 feet, it enjoys unobstructed views of the night sky, free from light pollution and other atmospheric distortions.