So unless I am missing something, even if we built an Alcubierre driven ship tomorrow, without a real space drive to accompany it we'll still be stuck to this solar system.
That is a good point. If an Apollo spacecraft were to go, say through a stargate as seen in SG1, it had better be in orbit of a habitable world or you are screwed.
I'm thinking any real space drive needed to explore in-system had better have both high specific impulse and high thrust--and NSWR is the only game in town. Land, take off, give one g thrust for hours--it is the closest thing to the Orbit Jet we will ever have.
Now in the Book THE DREAM MACHINES I do remember an airplane shaped craft that wasn't NSWR (not Aldebaran, but another one) that was a surface to surface craft.
Now what I would like to do is to find a wormhole with two mouths closer to each other in this solar system.
I wouldn't want them on Earth, but if I could find a way to make one wormhole mouth unidirectional--you would have the ultimate rocket.
You toss one wormhole mouth into the sun, and have a huge fusion jet out of the mouth of the other. There is your rocket.
A rocket with no fuel tank--saturday morning cartoons come to life. Push asteroids around at well, transport thousands of tons at speed, etc. Now it would take a long time to drain the sun, so this thing could just circle in system waiting to be recalled.
You push on to another, somewhat larger star, back and forth..and then throw the wormhole from the rocket into the other sun. That star becomes less massive, and lives longer, and our sun has fresh hydrogen.