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The greatest spaceships of science fiction

Moonraker space station ('Moonraker,' 1979)

Everett Collection

NEXT: A waylaid wanderer

The Resolute ('Lost In Space,' 2018)

Netflix

According to IGN (opens in new tab), the 2018 reboot of 'Lost in Space' was a remake of the 1965 show following the Robinson family's adventures in outer space. Whilst the ship in the original was named the Jupiter 2, Netflix's reboot ditched the name but kept the familiar saucer design. While the Resolute looks cool, there definitely are some issues with this ship. There's the not-so-small matter that a single alien robot could cause a lot of damage, which makes us wonder how the ship was expected to make the jump from Earth to Alpha Centauri if it was so delicate. Also, the Resolute seems to have a lot of problems picking up small transport ships on the surface, unless the ships are able to communicate directly with a strong enough signal. What about away missions? Otherwise, though, the ship is comfortable and large and even open to families, which is more than can be said for some of the other ships in this group.

NEXT: A whimsical mystrery

E.T. spaceship ('E.T.,' 1982)

Universal/Amblin

If only we knew more about this cute little spaceship. The movie shows that it's capable of bringing alien botanists to Earth, in search of learning more about our planet's organisms. But we only catch glimpses of this extraterrestrial technology as it touches down on Earth and flies away again. Its whimsical shape is supposed to look like a hot air balloon from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book, according to artist Ralph McQuarrie, quoted in Mental Floss.

NEXT: An intimidating mothership

District 9 alien ship ('District 9,' 2009)

Columbia

The story of "District 9" unfortunately doesn't tell us much about its mothership, but in terms of sheer terror factor, seeing this behemoth hovering over Johannesburg is one of the most memorable parts of the film. Perhaps its most interesting feature is it can be activated remotely. But the ship certainly isn't a perfect design, because its inhabitants were basically starving to death at the beginning of the film. Hopefully there's a Mothership 2.0 being developed for this alien species.

NEXT: A reliable journier

The Hermes ('The Martian,' 2015)

20th Century Fox

While most of the action in "The Martian" takes place, naturally, on Mars, the Hermes appears like a pretty capable interplanetary starship. First of all, it's surprisingly hackable; the crew is able to get into the mainframe to redirect its path at a crucial point in the film. Second, it's super-reliable. The Hermes was only supposed to take one Mars-Earth trip at a time, but in this film it actually takes on two. And finally, it's resilient; the crew literally uses a bomb aboard the ship to slow down its speed at Mars. There's a wicked explosion, but the ship appears (incredibly) to suffer no permanent devastating damage.

Additional Resources

Keep up to date with the latest, Star Wars and Star Trek news or read our ranking of Doctor Who's villains

Bibliography

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.