The spacecraft settled onto the surface and cheers erupted in the control room. They did it. If all the calculations were correct, humanity had successfully completed the first landing on an exoplanet.
Kapteyn B was an odd choice but eventually the scientific community gave it their blessing. After all it was the closest exoplanet to Earth that could conceivably support life.
Reporters shouted questions at the flustered scientists. “When will we see pictures from the spacecraft?” “Do you think there is life there?” The team leader rose to his feet and asked the crowd for silence.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment and I would like to thank all the members of our team. The knowledge gained from this journey will be of benefit to all humanity. Some day we will send humans to planets such as this,” he said. “We want to see the pictures,” an insistent reporter said. The team leader cleared his throat. “As you may be aware, Kapteyn B is the closet exoplanet to Earth that could possibly sustain life. It happens to be located 13 light years away from us.” “So what,” the reporter said. “That means that it will take thirteen years for the first video feed to begin.”
“What? What’s the point then?” the reporter said. “This isn’t news, it’s history before it happens.” “Exactly,” the team leader said.
“There is a possibility that someday, someone will find a way around the laws of physics as we now know them but don’t hold your breath,” the team leader said.
They approached the shiny thing carefully. Light from their red dwarf sun glinted on the strange object and they could see parts of it moving. They picked up rocks and looked at each other. The first stone hit the spacecraft. Soon a shower of rocks shattered the glass camera lenses and bent the antennae. The solar collector lay in pieces on the ground. They turned as a group and returned to their waiting positions.