I still think we should and will reach the stars, but today I'm forced to concede that using a theoretical "warp drive" might not be the best way to go:
You see, while warp drives are all sorts of fun within the confines of Star Trek, when they're applied to the real world—which must live under the iron fist of physics—things get expensive, exponentially difficult to power, or just plain deadly.
Warp drives, for example, are now theorised to be black hole-creating monstrosities that, if activated in the distant future, would incinerate their passengers and suck Earth into a black hole.
This according to Stefano Finazzi, of Italy's International School for Advanced Studies, who said in a scientific paper published this past week that warp drives, powered by dark energy bubbles, are completely possible—it's just that they're unsustainable and would kill us all if one should collapse.
According to their calculations [...]it would take a huge amount of energy to create the bubble, and then increasing amounts of energy to contain the highly repulsive dark energy. Eventually the energy would run out. The bubble would rupture, with catastrophic effects. Inside the bubble the temperature would rise to about 10^32 degrees Kelvin, destroying almost anything on the bubble.
Anyone watching the ship nearby wouldn't be much better off. "We know that the warp drive will be destabilised," said Finazzi. "But we do not know if it will in the end explode or collapse to a black hole."
Of course, speaking of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry and crew already had this all figured out by the time The Next Generation came around. As any Trekkie knows, for safety reasons Federation ships are discouraged or even forbidden from making warp jumps in-system. Time to get back to the lab, Finazzi. [Discovery Channel - Thanks, Chase]