Science Fiction sometimes comes up with remarkable ideas for devices which would make our lives easier. Or, at the very least, much cooler. Until we get a faster than light drive or a light saber, the following will have to do. Read on, and enjoy the future of fantasy today.
The one big gotcha about visiting an alien race (Dr. Hawking's concerns notwithstanding) is the language barrier. In the Star Wars universe, communication is done the old fashioned way: learn the language. With Star Trek and Doctor Who, universal translator devices are what will get you talking. Here on Earth in the 21st century, Voxtec has created the Phraselator, a hand-held device used by the U.S. military that translates 40 different languages. None of them Klingon. Yet.