The OPERA collaborative in Italy, which stunned the physics community in September by claiming they had detected neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light, has completed a second run of tests in the hopes of reducing the uncertainty of the result. They have submitted their findings for peer review, but the group has stated that they have confirmed their earlier result, and again detected neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light.
I don’t need to tell anyone how huge this is. If this gets confirmed–really confirmed–we’re going to upset the entire understanding of science, period. Every hard science fiction story that requires starships to travel at slower than light speeds (with the crew either in cryostasis, uploaded into computer banks, or spawning generations of children) will no longer be valid–or they will, but just be silly. Instead, we’ll have Enterprises and Millennium Falcons and X-Wings and who knows what. Granted, it will still take decades before we can first really confirm this, then develop experimental technology to harness this, and then still more before it becomes commercially viable. But if this is true, we might have FTL travel before the 23rd century.
Then all we would need to go along with it are directed energy weapons; reliable, cheap and clean power generation; and smartphones that don’t suck.