A blind man has been fitted with a cybernetic implant, a microchip implanted on his retina, allowing him limited vision. This is the beginning of a future where the blind can see again with cybernetic implants meaning such a disability will not be permanent in the future. The implants at the moment do not have a high resolution and the vision is monochrome but that should change in the future as the technology is improved. In the Star Trek First Contact film, Geordi La Forge had cybernetic eyes implanted to replace his VISOR, they gave him the same capabilities. This level of technology is too far away now that we have made the first step with a 1,500 pixel Charge Coupled Device. In other science news, astronomers have seen a giant black hole swallowing a star. Apparently the black hole was 3.5 Billion Kilometers away from the star. The lighter Hydrogen layers were pulled away from the star very easily compared to the denser layers underneath. If a black hole passes close by a star it could tow it along with itself as well as sucking out a streamer of stellar material connecting, it back to the black hole. Theoretically, if you could control a black hole or a Neutron star, you could use the gravity waves generated by such a massive object to send messages faster than light.
That would need significant technology, but it is not impossible with our capabilities in the future. Other alien races could be using this technology, but it is also possible that after a certain point their communication technology advances so far that they stop radiating radio waves into space as they develop more advanced methods of communication than carrier wave based communication meaning that if the galaxy is relatively silent it does not mean that there are no civilizations out there, it means that civilizations only use radio for a very short time. We are still using radio and radar which is also a source of electromagnetic radiation into space. I am sure we will continue using radar, there are not many alternatives to radar for seeing through fog and clouds. The main problem with space travel is the distances involved in traveling, to another star. 200 light years does not sound too far, but it is a prohibitive distance for travel if your speed is restricted to sub-light speed. At the speed of light, which nothing except photons can reach, it would take 200 years to travel that far. Light takes 8 minutes to reach the Earth from the Sun, that gives us an idea of how far away the Sun is. The closest star to Earth is Alpha Centauri. 4.5 Light years away from our solar system.
We can detect extrasolar planets orbiting other stars, but if they are 100 light years away, this is too far to travel in any conceivable lifetime. We need to invent some sort of warp drive to cover the massive distances within a human lifespan, but a warp drive is only in the realm of science fiction at the moment. Private enterprise is one hope as I have written before, they are planning a trip to the International Space Station to deliver goods, a private space ship could take over from the Space Shuttle and deliver crew and equipment to the space station, NASA have wound back the space program necessitating a private craft or Russian rockets to supply the astronauts in orbit. It goes without saying that if this huge black hole was heading towards our solar system, it would destroy the Sun if it came close to it and we would be gone. But that disastrous possibility is very remote. It is more likely that an asteroid from the outer solar system could come to Earth and hit us. Although Jupiter usually sucks up any large rocks before they become a threat. That is one benefit of having a large gas giant planet in our solar system that acts as a stellar vacuüm cleaner. meteorites small enough just burn up in our atmosphere and do not pose a threat to us at all. I have watched a meteorite burn up in the atmosphere, it was an awesome sight.
And it has been announced that asteroid mining is a possibility in the future. This will make trillions of dollars for some mining magnate, but it will also cost trillions of dollars and where is that going to come from? http://www.planetaryresources.com/. Check out the website and make up your own mind. Something like this will not happen for many centuries yet considering the direction humanity is heading.