The spacecraft crashed through the atmosphere, while inside the crew remained unconscious in their stasis chambers. Their journey had been long, but they twitched anxiously in their sleep. They had all grown up researching the world, but none had ever seen it, save through the lens of a telescope. Now they were here, finally, to study and collect samples. The rest of humanity would reap the benefits of the history to be found.
The ships’ autopilot landing system kicked in. The sleek steel frame unfolded its landing gear, and gliding wings detached from the sides. The ship, having lost its resistance from the atmosphere, coasted down over the gray and rocky landscape before coming to a halt on a smooth patch of dust and dirt.
The crew was released from stasis after landing. Stretching arms and tired eyes met each other with weary smiles. Celebratory high-fives and handshakes were given. They had made it.
After collecting their equipment, and putting on their oxygen masks, the crew took their first steps on the alien planet. The landscape was barren and dried up. Deep valleys scorched the surface where oceans had once been. There was no life. It was as bald and empty as the moon.
“So,” one of them said, “This is Earth.”
And one by one they picked up their tools, and walked across the first home of the human race.