R. Star wrote:
Even if there was a habitable planet at Alpha Centauri... only being 4.3 light years away, that's still an insane distance and beyond us right now. I seem to recall reading it would take over 150,000 years at a space shuttle's velocity to get there. We'd really have to be able to achieve at least 1/10th the speed of light before we could even begin considering sending ships out to other systems I would imagine.
Our imaginations fuel incredibly impressive technological feats to be realized in due time, but they also conjure up ideas that are just way too implausible for anything we're capable of in the next few generations or perhaps thousands of years if at all. The sad truth is that we're far, far away from where all the action is. The concentration of habitable worlds is closer to the center of the galaxy and we're out on the periphery well beyond plausible reach.
The basic fact is that eventually suns burn out and habitable worlds become uninhabitable. One day the Earth won't be able to sustain us. The only way to continue propagating is to leave it and venture to another planet that can sustain human life for another billion years. And the only way I see that ever happening is via a VERY long distance interstellar journey on a self-sustaining spacecraft with a select group of humans cryogenically preserved for the multi-thousand year voyage. Anything else is just pure fantasy.