Originally Posted by horatio
I have no real answer but I have also wondered about the significance of this scene. Perhaps it is meant to be an inside-joke and refer to V'Ger, perhaps it is Shatner's way to show the audience in the very beginning of the movie that Klingons don't like humans.
I think the joke is that goal of the probe is making contact with Alien lifeforms and showing them that there is an other intelligent lifeform, humans.
But when the probe finally fulfills its purpose and meets an alien lifeforme for these Aliens (the Klingons) the probe only is space garbadge, a good target to test their weapons.
And if tyrants take me, And throw me in prison, My thoughts will burst free, Like blossoms in season.
Foundations will crumble, The structure will tumble, And free men will cry:
Thoughts are free!