SpaceX has sent 92 space probes into interstellar space with the goal of reaching other solar systems and discovering habitable planets similar to our own.
Every single one of those probes has lost contact with earth at a specific distance from us, making these missions futile. But not all hope was lost. There was another way.
One humanity hoped would not have to take place. The first manned interstellar space flight. Dangerous, daring.
One human was preparing for years for such an occasion for a long time now and that person was me. This was it; the final 10 seconds before the take-off of Voyager 94.
17 years of training as an astronaut in SpaceX's interstellar exploration program have all led to these final moments of being on earth for the last time. I was never meant to come back.
Not alive anyways.
I always imagined that a couple of thousand years in the future humanity would be advanced enough to find my dead body in that spaceship drifting endlessly into the void and then put me
on display in a museum.
10..9..8.... 1. All the training in the world could never prepare you for what it actually feels like to be in an exploding rocket shooting for space.
But leaving earth wasn't so hard for me anyway. An orphan, never married, just in love with my job. The perfect canditate. Everything went smooth.
I was successfully on my way to Alpha Centauri, the solar system reserved for the first human interstellar space flight as it was the closest to our own.
Even with the revolutionary new ion thrusting technology it would take me 23 years to get to the second planet nearest to the Alpha Centauri Sun.
After 3 years I finally reached the distance point at which we lost contact with every other space probe.
It was so precise that we narrowed it down to the minute at which I would lose contact with earth.
I very calmly looked at the timer on the screen counting down the minutes towards the no-contact point. Minutes became seconds. 10..9..8... It felt like another rocket launch all over again.
3..2..1. Nothing. Everything was normal. No sudden bursts of radiation, no undetectable black holes to suck me in.
Just me continuing my journey into interstellar space for 20 more years to come. Although this was the preffered outcome It did feel a little..anticlimactic? Or so I though.
Still staring at the screen with the timer having reached zero, it flashed "Warning #883". I knew every warning number like the back of my hand, all 882 of them.
Number 883? I thought I was hallucinating. My "hyper sensitive and exeptional at problem solving" brain had no answer this time.
Until the answer came to me through the most unlikely places you would expect something to come from when travelling in a spaceship through interstellar space.
"External hatch open" read the green text on my second screen.
I started to pull myself towards the back of the spaceship where the hatch was located while trying to understand how I am not yet dead from the vacuum of space if the front hatch has
been unsealed. I reach the hatch which was evidently open ever so slightly as for me to see a streak of light shining through.
I hesitated for a moment until my exceptional at problem solving brain pushed the hatch open. I watched as an endless green backround unravelled infront my eyes. And then, a...
human? But not just any human. Sally my training instructor and friend for 17 years was standing on the green screen dressed with nasa's mandatory training jumpsuit. "John" she said.
No words came out of my mouth.
I was too busy trying to figure out if I was dreaming or hallucinating because the ship was slowly depressurising and my brain was running out of oxygen back in the spaceship.
"You have successfully completed the Adaptive Simulated Experience training course and you are now ready to begin the mission. The real one this time".