Since time immemorial, mankind has dreamed of traveling to the stars. But it’s only been in the last fifty or so years that he actually dreamed of doing it in a way that didn’t suck. Yep, we’ve come a long way since Jules Verne dreamed of mankind traveling to the moon in a giant bullet, with tons of theoretical advances in spaceship design: warp drives, lasers, hell, even windows. Here are the 15 best spaceships mankind has managed to imagine up with so far?and stay tuned for the 10 Worst Spaceships of All Time later today.
15) Yonada World Ship, Star Trek
If all that time traveling between planets is getting you down, why not travel inside another planet? (Yes, it’s the rock in the background.) Yep, you can just tool around the galaxy inside this hollow world, although it?s hard to believe they didn?t know it was a ship. Especially when everything inside it looks just like a cheesy ’60s soundstage.
14) Battlestar Galactica, Battlestar Galactica
Facing a foe that’s too hard to beat? Well, the Galactica is essentially a spacecraft carrier, so you can just sends out swarms of smaller ships to tire out your enemy. Also, given the series’ superb writing and the use of the ship as an actual character in the show, it has better acting than most spaceships, although that’s pretty much just the latest one.
13) Galaxy Express 999, Galaxy Express 999
Sure trains have been fairly irrelevant for almost a hundred years, but what if they didn’t have to run on rails? Well, they wouldn’t really be trains, but they’d definitely be more useful. And that’s what Galaxy Express 999 is, a space train that gets you anywhere in the universe in comfort and style, if not particularly fast.
12) Composite Superman Spaceship, Superman/Batman
Please look at the image above. That?s Composite Superman, a villain from the Silver Age of comic (a.k.a., the Golden Age of really fucking stupid comic ideas). Now get this: To stop a rogue kryptonite comet, Toyman (the good one) created a giant spaceship shaped like Composite Superman, which was piloted by Captain Atom, oddly. But who wouldn’t want to pilot a giant 50-foot Superman/Batman hybrid? Think of all the giant stuff you could leap over with a single bound/detectify!
11) Monstarr’s Space Squid, Silverhawks
Sure it’s a little breezy in the vacuum of space, but there?s something truly fearsome about riding around the universe in something so messed up that it shouldn?t ever exist. Face it; is there any way to prepare for a fight against someone flying around on a robot space squid? Only by getting a giant space whale, and that?s just stupid. (Stick til the end of the video for the big squid payoff.)
10) U.S.S. Enterprise-D, Star Trek
For all-round comfort, it?s hard to beat the Enterprise-D. With tons of space, a bar and a holodeck to keep you occupied, it?s like tooling around the universe in the Mall of America. Although, with the holodecks malfunctioning so often, it?s like a mall where a gangster or cowboy could shoot you at any second.
9) Andromeda Ascendant, Andromeda)
Apart from being one of the few ships on this list to follow actual physics, the Andromeda?s also equipped with tons of robots, including a smoking hot robotic avatar equipped with a tight leather outfit, which is an attractive extra feature in any vehicle, space-faring or not. Plus, this ship contains your daily recommended amount of vitamin Sorbo. Rowr!
8) Baron Munchausen’s Lady’s Undergarment Balloon, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Sure it may only get you to the moon and back, but you’ve got to keep in mind that it was built in the seventeenth century and also a complete lie. Plus, it was made entirely with used French panties. Whether you find that weird or totally awesome tells a lot about you as a person.
7) UFO Robo Grendizer, Grendizer
Sometimes you feel like a giant robot. Most of the time, you don’t. But with Grendizer, you get the best of both the UFO and Giant Robot worlds (which really aren’t that far apart). You can use your giant, occasionally drill-fisted robot and fit him back in his saucer when you don’t need him, keeping him safe from harm and, more importantly, maintaining his value for an eBay sale later.
6) Millennium Falcon, Star Wars
Sure it looks like a hamburger with an olive next to it, but it?s supposed to! It?s got guns on the tops and bottom, secret cargo space for smuggling, and it?s so fast it can turn ?parsec? into a measurement of time. And if you?re bored, a monsters-beating-the-snot-out-of-each-other chessboard beats singing ?100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall? any day.
5) U.S.S. Defiant, Star Trek Deep Space Nine
Originally designed to fight the borg, this ship?s got all the weaponry the Enterprise didn?t: ablative armor, pulse phasers, quantum torpedoes and a cloaking device so the enemy can?t see you coming. Basically, if Kirk had had this ship, he never would have stopped sucker punching alien races (and maybe that giant Space Lincoln, too).
4) The Carrier, The Authority
Powered by a baby universe, able to teleport people anywhere on earth and with room for all the ultra-violence the Authority needs (which is a lot), the Carrier?s really impressive ability is how it can traverse theoretical dimensions like moving through the ?Devanchanic realm at the speed of twenty-five dreams per second.? How many other spaceships out there can actually move pretentiously?
3) Death Star, Star Wars
The ultimate badass of spaceships is this non-moon, planet destroyer and massive drain on the Empire?s budget. It?s roomy enough to include jails, trash compactors, and even a snappy conference room, although it did have a drawback in that you could blow it up by sticking a potato in its tailpipe, metaphorically speaking. Vader thought it was insignificant next to the power of the force, but the Death Star did the one thing the force couldn?t?it finally killed Jimmy Smits.
2) Heart of Gold, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Imagine a ship that gets you anywhere you want by taking you everyplace in the galaxy at once. Now imagine that ship is staffed by a two-headed former president of the Galaxy that?s constantly downing Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters and a suicidally depressed robot. Who wouldn?t want to sing ?100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall? with those guys? The only thing that keeps it out of the #1 spot is it’s unfortunate side effect of turning people into furniture.
1) Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Macross
Not only does this massive spaceship carry a small (although unwilling) city inside, it?s transforms into a giant, robot with a massive laser cannon. But it really makes the list for it?s Daedalus maneuver?the ability to punch another space craft, open the doors on its ?fist,? and fire every missile it has into the belly of the opposing ship. There?s nothing like a multiple megaton cold-cock to end a planetary brawl.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.