Shortly after the results of Albert Einstein’s survey mission to the Sirius system returned to Earth in 2096, a new probe was launched to follow in Einstein’s relativistic exhaust trails. Dubbed the Aeneas, its 30-year mission was to study the Sirius and Procyon binary stars. After launch in 2100, the longest leg of its mission was the 12.7-year relativistic journey out to the Sirius system. Once there, it studied the Sirius binary stars and refueled on antimatter over a three year period. Upon completion of refueling, Aeneas began its 7.8-year trek to the Procyon system, where it spent the rest of its operational life studying those two stars. The data gathered by the Aeneas probe was crucial to understanding the behavior and life cycles of high-mass stars, and helped engineers to design the baseline structures of the Romulus and Remus city-stations.
The Aeneas mission was also the proving ground for fully sapient artificial intelligence. For a mission with such a long range and duration, scientists created an adaptable self-aware digital program capable of learning and running the mission on its own, dubbed Heuristic Onboard Managing Electronic Researcher (or HOMER). HOMER was a marvelous success, although his inclusion in a craft with a one-way trajectory was a hotly debated ethical controversy. In the end, however, the Aeneas was recovered from its wide stasis orbit around the Procyon binary and HOMER, after an upgrade, was integrated with Remus’ systems.