After that, our research probe will turn into more of time capsule. Voyager 1 won't reach another star for around 40,000 years. Perhaps humanity will be a true spacefaring race by that time, with vessels scattered across the galaxy that manage to outpace our first little beacon into the beyond. But if humanity is long gone, we may make a kind of posthumous contact with other intelligent life. Voyagers 1 and 2 both carry copies of the Golden Record. It's more symbolic than anything—no one expects aliens to know what a record is and how to play it, let alone understand human languages—but just as ancient, sometimes unintelligible cave paintings tell us that our ancestors once roamed distant lands, the etchings on these records will say that we were here. And that we wanted to look for something more.