Ode to a Spaceprobe

Your big day has arrived, but your journey is just beginning.

For years you haven’t been waiting patiently, you’ve been zooming across the solar system faster than anything else we’ve ever launched into space.

Although your time at your target will be all too brief, it will resonate for an unfathomably long time to come. In your brief but big moment, you will accumulate enough data to keep us happy and full of imagination and wonderment for years to come. We all wish you could linger too, but you can’t do so any more than any of us can. We all have times when we wish we could linger but have to leave anyways… Bigger and better things await though, especially for you!

Although your primary mission will seem to end as quickly as it began, your ultimate mission is just beginning. You will soon join our cadre of interstellar affirmations of our existence. You will soon join Voyager 1 and 2 outside the heliosphere and in true interstellar space.

You all carry greetings for anyone who might find you but in our heart of hearts, you are really our cosmic gravestones, memorials to we that once existed. When the last human has drawn its last breath, you and your interstellar robotic brethren will silently testify by virtue of your existence alone, that humans once lived, and they created devices like us because they wanted to learn and understand. We were a curious people who wanted to see further, and who invested our time, energies, and wealth, to build robots such as these, so that they could be sent off to learn and teach us in turn.

When the Earth is finally swallowed by the sun, and there is nothing else left in the universe to testify that we ever existed at all, when all our human sound and fury has truly and ultimately come to signifying nothing, like sentinels our humble interstellar fleet will continue to testify that we once existed, that we once lived, that we breathed, and hoped, and feared, and loved. We saw far, and wanted to see further. We were human.