High-tech masks and data gloves not withstanding, I've wondered why there's no plan to shoot unmanned ships to the nearest ten or twenty star systems even if it's 100 - 200 years before they get there and we start getting data back and even if in the meantime technology advances enough to make these initial ships pointless - e.g. warp drive is developed. There's a reasonably good chance that FTL travel won't be developed in the next 1,000 years (if ever) so why not try to accomplish something in the nearer term?
Is it possible to aim well enough to place a ship in orbit of a star 8 - 30 light years or so away? How much could we learn about a star system with a satellite orbiting a star at a distance roughly the same as between Jupiter and Saturn for example? Would it be any better than current or near-future Earth based imaging can provide? If such a satellite came into orbit of our solar system sent by another civilization, would we readily be able to detect it?