Back on Earth, the Kilauea eruption has caused around 2,000 residents to evacuate their homes and has destroyed more than 30 homes. It opened over the weekend on the Big Island about 100 feet from Fissure No. 16, which spewed lava for about 250 yards.
Risky levels of sulphur dioxide gas and other emissions prompted state health officials to urge residents to stay indoors or leave the eastern end of Hawaii's Big Island, which has been ravaged by volcanic activity since May 3.
Several residents in the area told Hawaii News Now they were suffering from headaches, sore throats, and watery eyes due to the ash.
Fissure No. 18 on Sunday also produced lava flow and fumes, Civil Defense officials said, raising fear of more evacuations.
This is the "first leak we're seeing out of the bucket", Birch said.
Almost 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 12 days ago, and officials warn it may soon blow its top with a massive steam eruption that would shoot boulders and ash kilometres into the sky.
Tourism is one of Hawaii's biggest industries and a big part of the local economy.
As of May 14, two-thirds of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was closed because of "ongoing seismic activity" and other hazards.
Why? To start with, geologists think much of the magma oozing from the ground into the community of Leilani Estates since May 3 - miles east of Kilaeua's summit - may have been stored in underground channels in the volcano's rift zone since a 1955 eruption. Authorities have confirmed the fissure is the 16th to open.
The U.S. Geological Survey has warned that pent-up steam could cause a violent explosion at the volcano crater, launching a 20,000-foot (6,100-metre) plume that could spread debris over 12 miles (19 km). No homes or roads were threatened by the flow.
But it will be hard to warn residents who may be in the path of such an eruption. "It's like a nuclear reaction or something".
A large explosion in Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could lead to an explosive eruption and send boulders, rocks and ash into the air in the coming weeks, the US Geological Survey (USGA) said on Wednesday.
"We do have five active volcanoes in our state", said Brian Terbush, natural disaster and volcano coordinator at Washington EMD.
"In a way, it's kind of exciting to see what's going on and be this close to it", Christian Ricks said.
As a precaution, plant workers last week removed 50,000 gallons of a flammable liquid stored at the site.