At one time there was a difference between extrapolating from existing technology to create future models, and modelling in the future itself. While the former used to be a routine application of science, the latter was reserved strictly for science fiction. No longer. It’s now perfectly legitimate to try and reverse-engineer artifacts and processes that only exist as phantasms of speculation. Some results will perhaps be doomed and some only partially successful, but some will definitely see the light of years to come. Here’s a cross selection of all three in no particular order of credibility or accomplishment.
Will we ever meet "aliens"?
If by "aliens" we mean biological entities not of this planet, then, definitely yes, we’ll probably meet them within this decade itself—on Mars. According to the latest findings, water not only existed in plenty on the Red Planet in the past, but is still there today, locked in subterranean deposits and as permafrost in vast underground oceans. And, where there’s water, can life be far behind? These may not qualify as little green men or bug-eyed monsters, but the chances of finding microbial life does multiply hugely under such circumstances. However, if by "aliens" we mean sentient beings like ourselves who invent societies and civilisations and so on, then the good news is perhaps even better. At last count, for instance, more than 90 extra-solar planets have been discovered around three dozen stars much like our Sun, with some of them orbiting at that critical distance—not near enough to be roasted, not far enough to be frozen. Considering that the stars in our galaxy number in hundreds of billions (and there are an equal number of galaxies around), ET is just waiting to be found.