The greatest spaceships of science fiction

Moonraker space station ('Moonraker,' 1979)

Everett Collection

NEXT: A waylaid wanderer

The Resolute ('Lost In Space,' 2018)


According to IGN, 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)


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)


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.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: