How realistic are sci-fi spaceships?
At more than 60 years into the Space Age, fictional spaceships appear on our screens at a far greater frequency than the real things launch in real life. But that doesn't mean they'll actually fly. When it comes to imagining interstellar travel, the history of spaceflight up until now hasn't given science-fiction designers a whole lot to work with. All we've seen are basic rockets (useful for escaping Earth's gravity well), plane-like space shuttles (useful for re-entering it), Moon modules (the lunar lander), and modular orbital tubes (the International Space Station).