Brilliant as laser light the sail unfurls
Reaching away with increasing delta-v;
Circuits encoded, a distributed control,
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.
Kevin Gill, via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 Generic