“While the current wave of research is going towards habitability and biosignatures, our signature is a signature of destruction,” astrophysicist Apurva Oza at the Physics Institute of the University of Bern about the detection of an “exo-moon” hidden at the exoplanet system WASP-49b that appears to be an extreme version of Jupiter’s moon Io –the volcanic epicenter of our solar system. “A few of these worlds could be destroyed in a few billion years due to the extreme mass loss. The exciting part is that we can monitor these destructive processes in real time, like fireworks.”
In February 2001, an eruption from the Surt volcano on the hellscape of Jupiter’s moon, Io, the volcanic epi-center of our solar system, exploded with an estimated output of an almost incomprehensible 78,000 gigawatts. By comparison, the 1992 eruption of Mount Etna, Sicily, was estimated at 12 gigawatts. During its peak, observed by the WM Keck II Telescope on Hawaii, its output almost matched the eruptive power of all of Io’s active volcanoes combined.