|Toroidal Colony by Michael Anissimov. A design for a|
possible space colony in the future.
Right now the only life forms we know that exist on other planets are microscopic. We haven't seen other intelligent species, let alone gotten to know one well enough to believe that we could be having diplomatic relations with another planet. If we do find other intelligent life in our universe I would be curious to see how they behave. Will they be peaceful, warlike, or like humans have multiple sides to them?
We don't know what those first encounters will look like or if they will even take place in this universe. I can see science someday taking us to another dimension, another reality. What kind of experiences will that sort of travel bring us? I could speculate, but I would more than likely be horribly wrong.
We are currently moving towards a more industrialized vision of space in America. I find that rather exciting actually (at least as much as I find it terrifying,) because it may bring us towards discovering much more about space exploration.
Star Trek is a long way off from becoming a reality. Space colonies like the one above are not something that will likely happen in my life time.
Life is a funny thing, because if I have to think about what might happen after its over all I can think is, "Well it won't apply to me. Why should I care?" I know in theory I should be excited, should want to push our society towards making those breakthroughs and at the very least encourage the next generation to find an escape planet in case this one should ever fall to ruin to say, a stray meteor over Russia. I should care, but in the end I doubt I'll live to see it and outside of science fiction my interest ends there. I'm more interested in how space companies plan to mine asteroids without having the human error to drop rocks on the earth below.
My guess is that unless they come here I won't see aliens. I won't get to see humans make the first connection with another species, or the first intergalactic council elect the equivalent of a Vulcan as their level headed leader.
Right now I don't see meaningful (widely known) alien encounters as a feasible thing. Until we can go on long trips at the speed of light away from earth I will conclude the only space opera's I'll ever hope to see will be ones in the Senate. Those opera's will be much more tedious, and will involve how much money can be "squandered" on machines that will provide planetary protection from gigantic flying rocks. C-SPAN will broadcast them and I'm certain, as ever, we will all skip over the channel and miss that these long drawn out legislation dramas are ever happening in the first place.
All I can hope is that Space X and NASA manage to make some drastic discoveries during my lifetime which will bring us one step closer to intergalactic story telling on a massive scale.