Recently, a highly respected and much read science fiction and horror story writer stated that starships will never be more than science fiction. I respectfully disagree. Well yes, I did write that Starship Paradigm blog here, and yes right now you could say it is more fiction than fact, but that will change.
We will confirm that life exists in other solar systems, We will continue to also admit that reaching any of those possible Earth twins is a big dream. It is a dream because of the immense distances and the current dangers, as we know them, that could hamper any exploration. So what is new? Relatively speaking, every exploration humankind has undertaken in its history has presented us with extreme distances and possible dangers. We responded by following the dream regardless of either distances or dangers.
So, now after centuries of exploratory successes and rewards, we are going to stop because of distances and dangers? I do not think so, and those vessels that carried early explorers to the “edges of Earth” and beyond will become our starship vessels.
Yes, we will go faster (near light speed) and yes we will address the most worrisome dangers (radiation and the celestial unknowns), but our trip to a verified Earth twin is going to take years. Enough years that we must accept the fact that the final discovers/visitors to the new civilization will be descendants of those who started out on our starship voyage. To me this is a marvelous process in which generations are committed to extending humankind’s knowledge of and contact with other life in the universe. As I have suggested before, it is an evolutionary imperative.
So, lets keep that dream alive, lets continue to refine our search for life in the universe and above all else lets never reject that dream or the starship that will make it a reality. We owe this to ourselves, but we also owe it to every explorer throughout our history who followed their dreams; all of which will bring us to the boarding ramp on our first starship.
Step aboard please, a great adventure and a greater future awaits us.