stars nebula space

Engines of Creation

Clear skies of a winter’s night,
Stars ablaze, a thousand suns,
Unimpeded before my sight,
The long journey their light has run.

Mighty Sirius, beacon in the void,
Greater even than Jupiter’s arc;
Tau Ceti with her many worlds,
Shining promise across the dark.

Farther off Arcturus burns,
Capella to the Hyades sings,
Ringed with dust Vega turns,
And Fomalhaut in Castor’s wings.

Centuries off Antares shines,
And Canopus in the southern sky,
Rigel anchors Orion’s belt,
Betelgeuse glows red to our eye.

Deneb, distant, ever so bright,
Her light began in ancient days,
Would dominate the northern sky,
Yet is two thousand years away.

What stories they must have,
These lights of our foundation,
What tales they could tell,
These burning engines of creation.

pleiades stars space
image credit: WikiImages via /

Beam Reaching the Void

Brilliant as laser light the sail unfurls
Kilometers across,
Reaching away with increasing delta-v;
Circuits encoded, a distributed control,
Carbon-nano resilient
In the face of strikes of dust.

Decades we have voyaged, our home far behind,
Nothing more than a bright point of light,
A memory of the launching beam;
Now ahead we see, brighter by the day,
Our destination, our Centauri dream,
And fabled Proxima b.

Too fast! Too fast! We must slow down,
Deploy the braking sail,
Vector toward our new Sun;
Angular momentum, control lines pulled,
The sheets and halyards of our ship,
Elliptically sling us around the star.

A dozen trips, two dozen, shedding delta-v
With each successive orbit, easing us slowly toward
Our final home, Lagrange One, stable space between
Star and planet, a million miles yet close enough to touch,
Scopes deployed, sensors arrayed, beaming home the news,
Four years to tell you that we’ve arrived.

Image credit:
Kevin Gill, via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 Generic