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ScienceVet
The guide waved at the next display, "And this... this is a special piece. You're lucky! We're only allowed to show you this at one solar position of one particular planet. Silence now, here it comes..." 1/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
A soft, tinny music filled the suddenly silent space by the display. It was awkward, almost hesitant, as if it wasn't quite sure it was meant to be music at all. And yet, the crowd stared, straining for the notes, silent and still until silence again filled the hall. 2/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
With the sound gone, the audience again focused on their guide and personal translators. "Ah. That never gets old. This piece is more than a nine-hundred year-old relic, it is a symbol. The young often ask why there are so few requirements to enter the Glactic Union. /3
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
This is why. This is piece of a culture so impatient to see the stars it hurled devices out into them. Not so different than many of our cultures, yes? Ah, but see, this planet was still in its infancy, at war with itself, a candle still at risk of snuffing itself out. /4
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
And yet, they sent this to a nearby, uninhabitable planet. Just to see." The guide paused, "But that is not the most wondrous thing." /5
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
"The device you see here, is not autonomous. A simple, 'robot' that took commands directly from the home planet and relayed back information. A machine, nothing more." Again a pause, "And yet. This culture programmed this simple, data gathering machine, to make music. 6/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
And not just any music, but a song played when the solar position approximated that of an individual's genesis." 7/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
"The humans have been members of the Galactic Union for over eight-hundred years. They bear little resemblance to the ones who built this device, which they named - NAMED, Opportunity. 8/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
But they still have that unique trait they brought to the Union, as all species bring something unique. Though the humans had not realized it yet themselves, as they gave their machines names of hope and flung them into the stars, programmed them to play music, 9/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
and mourned them when they went cold, the Union saw their potential." The guide waved an arm to encompass the room, "Yes. Humans. Our great peacemakers, were once at risk of destroying themselves. 10/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
Yet even then, their empathy was so great they mourned not only for a species not their own, but for an inanimate machine that 'survived' more than sixty times longer than expected. 11/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
They listened, long after it had passed into silence, waiting to make sure it did not pass alone, as they would a living family member." 12/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
The guide turned back to the machine, now silent again, "And the humans returned to recover this simple machine and still, nine-HUNDRED years later, 13/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
allow us only to send the command to play this music, 'happy birthday' when the sun of their homeworld approximates the position it did then. They are... a special race to be sure. And this 'Opportunity' is a symbol of that. 14/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
Antiquated and clumsy technology, but a symbol of an empathy deep enough to unite the Galactic Union, and keep it strong, peaceful, and expanding." 15/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
The crowd paused, considering, then moved on to the next museum exhibit, leaving one lone figure staring at the display. 16/
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
Softly, even softer than the music, it spoke. "Of course we came back. Good job, Oppy. Who's the best little rover?" The figure smiled, waved as if at the silent machine, and turned to follow the group. 17/17
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
The above is an unedited first-draft written as I watched messages spread across the web of Opportunity's last message, "My battery is low and it's getting dark." and a universal mourning. But it struck me as people were sad that Oppy passed, "alone" that it was the opposite
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
Like a beloved pet, we sat with Oppy as it went to sleep for the final time. We listened, long after, to be sure that it didn't wake up alone. And it struck me that that is a truly AMAZING thing, to invest so much, to care SO much about something inanimate. And so, I wrote this
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ScienceVet 14 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
Because I see a lot of hope in this. If we can just get past all the other stuff, humans are AMAZING. And yeah, if we get to the stars? You know we're totally gonna go back for Oppy. 'Cause humans are big emotional saps. And maybe that's our strength.
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ScienceVet 15 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
Note: It was Curiosity we taught to play music with its scientific recording devices. This story is a bit of poetic license based on the fact they played music for Oppy while waiting for it to wake up.
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ScienceVet 15 Feb 19
Replying to @ScienceVet2
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