The ending is dramatic and beautifully filmed, showing that the spirit of scientific inquiry can survive even in the most extreme of life-threatening conditions. This movie is true Science Fiction on a level that the SyFy channel has never even approached. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
I actually found this film quite moving in that respect.
Humanity is constantly exploring, always seeking to find out more. What this film managed to encapsulate is that exploration by its very nature is dangerous.
The characters in this film are on a hugely expensive exploration of our solar system in the hopes that they will find evidence of life on one of the moons of Jupiter. This may be an actual real life possibility, the Neil Degrasse Tyson footage is legitimate. Then they are met with tragedy, their communication (i.e. lifeline) to Earth is destroyed. They are met with the decision on whether or not to continue what may now be a useless, Quixotic expedition. They choose to continue. Granted, what else were they going to do?
They choose the spirit of human exploration every time. There are arguments, but when push comes to shove, they always choose their original mission plan, the expanse of human knowledge, even though they have no idea if it will come to fruition.
Having seen the film, everybody in the mission dies. Looked at in this way, it seems very downbeat.
But what really happens, the lone survivor, knowingly sacrifices herself to transmit the first images of extra-terrestrial life to a soon-to-be-transformed Earth. While that's sad, what I took away is that these people are heroes. Exploration is dangerous, and these people were willing to give their lives to further human understanding. As dark as this movie gets, it ends in triumph.
I actually found the message of the movie quite beautiful. To discover more about the Universe is a vast and wonderful goal. To do so, humanity will have to put itself in situations which are by no means safe. These people understood that and ultimately sacrificed themselves, and then came back with transformational knowledge.
This may be my favorite movie of 2013.