Author : C. James Darrow
From ninety six million miles away Earth looks like a faint blue ornament hanging off something unseen. Every ounce of life our solar system cradles and keeps warm is on that pale speck and from this distance it all seems so insignificant.
Soon we will slingshot around the sun. The lifeblood that granted Earth permission to host all that life. As our ship gets sucked into its blistering gaze and slingshots outward the solar sails deploy and our speed increases tenfold. We don’t feel it. To us, we are standing still. We are kept relatively safe—these are the exact words of the company responsible for this excursion—inside reinforced steel and glass and plastic and all the other bits keeping the radiation of the fireball near us, out. The slightest turning of the wrong screw or a passing piece of space debris the size of a penny could end this trillion dollar experiment.
That’s what this all is, essentially; an experiment to put the human psyche to the test. To see if we insignificant humans can build something to withstand this void we now traverse.
We launched months ago. We are just reaching the sun. Our destination is light years beyond that. If we reach it—and that’s a big if: if the sails don’t break, if the ion thrusters don’t give out, if life support doesn’t give out, if our own bodies don’t give out, we will reach our destination in nearly a hundred years. All the people we have come to know and love and call family and friends will be dead. We never will get to see them, or any sights from Earth again. Our technology now, which is years ahead of anything accessible to the public will be obsolete. We as humans, the knowledge we possess, will be obsolete.
I wonder if after these years pass whether anybody will remember our names. When I wake up, will I even? Will I be the same person I was before I go down for the deep sleep?
What world will I wake up to? . .I hope it to be much more beautiful than the one I’m leaving behind.