Duncan MacLeod wrote:
All of which begs the question: do you think they would have been better off with the 27th century time period indicated by SoG, rather the the 23rd century that they ultimately went with?
In hindsight I think it might have worked out better. But them again, at the time we all assumed the lunar missions would immediately lead to a Mars expedition by the late 70s/ early 80s, then on to the asteriod belt by the 90s and so on. No one expected us to turn away from manned space exploration so quickly and so completely. It's kinda sad when you think about it.
Don't be so pessimistic. The proposals that are coming along now for private space travel and mining are the sort of thing that could start a new space age far more successful than the one of the NASA era. Historically, frontier exploration/settlement hasn't really taken off until it came into the hands of private enterprise with government backing -- like the East India Companies, or the prospectors and fur traders who spearheaded European expansion into the Americas. Some of the proposals on the table now could get us to a Mars colony by the 2040s. Heck, in my novel Only Superhuman
I have a heavily settled Asteroid Belt by the 2080s and '90s, and while that's an optimistic timeline, I do believe it's in the realm of possibility.
Of course, going interstellar is another matter. But NASA's already doing proof-of-concept experiments for a warp field generator of a sort
, since recent theoretical work suggests that space warping could potentially be viable with far less energy than was previously assumed. Realistically, there's probably a very long journey from such proof of concept (if it works) to a functioning warp drive, but if such experiments are happening now in 2012, it makes it a little more credible that Zefram Cochrane could be building his warp engine just 50 years later.
Oh, and "Squire" pegged it as 28th century, not 27th. Trelane was familiar with the death of Alexander Hamilton, which took place in 1804. His cry of "Vive Napoleon!" suggests he was familiar with Napoleon's Hundred Days in 1815. And the episode featured a Strauss waltz from 1880. So it was 900 years after the 19th century, making it the 28th.