Star Trek tech No. 1: Warp drives
To explore the Final Frontier we'll need to bust through Einstein's speed limit (aka the speed of light). Enter physicist Miguel Alcubierre. In 1994 he theorized you could shorten the distance between stars by placing a ship inside a bubble of normal spacetime and warping space around it. Last September, NASA scientists reported that changing the shape of the bubble would slash the amount of energy required by Alucierre's design, making warp drives almost practical. The downside? The resulting wave of matter pushed ahead of the ship might obliterate anything in its path, putting a total damper on those "Welcome, Earthlings!" parties.