Long after the floods or the fires have reduced our cities to rubble, long after the plague or the asteroid strike or the famine has killed off the human species, long after even our sun has boiled the seas dry and, in its own death throes, engulfed and annihilated every dust mote of this world we like to think of as our safe and stable home, a three-quarter-ton assemblage of metal will be sailing through empty interstellar space—on its way to nowhere, effectively from nowhere. A year ago, Voyager 1 crossed out of our solar system. It took us till now, painstakingly deciphering its available signals, to figure out that it had done so. Voyager 1 will continue communicating with us until perhaps 2025, when it is expected to run out of power and fly on in silence, all on its own, while you and everyone you know die and are forgotten. It will be carrying an analog audio disc containing, among other recordings, "Dark Was the Night" by Blind Willie Johnson.

[Image by Jim Cooke]