Meet the greatest space travelers ever. They're soldiers, construction workers, scientists and children. Here is the first of a five part series of blog posts counting down the 100 greatest space travelers of all-time.

Everyone has dreamed of going into space. While most of us will never get there hundreds of movies, television shows and books show people traveling into space. We compiled a list of the ones we consider the top 100 space travelers of all-time.

We had to make up some rules for the list so here they are.
  1. First, these are fictional astronauts. It's not fair to compare Buzz Aldrin to Captain Kirk. Aldrin would win.
  2. Second, these are humans. So, you won't see Spock or Chewbacca.
Other than that you'll see your favorites in here and a few great ones you may not have heard of. Sit back. Relax and we'll begin with number 100.

The List 

100. Alex Rogan (Lance Guest)
The Last Starfighter (1984)
In the 1984 film The Last Starfighter, Alex Rogen (Lance Guest) was just a loser in a trailer park playing a video game. Then he discovered it was all real. He really was training to defend "the Frontier" from "Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada". Recruited to become a Starfighter he is transported into space to join the Frontier. Single-handedly he defeated Xur and fulfilled the dreams of hardcore gamers everywhere.

99. Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfus)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Roy Neary, a lineman in Indiana, encounters a UFO and develops a strange obsession with a mountain in the wilderness. He and several others fight the government to make an encounter of the "third kind" with aliens eventually going on their spacecraft to travel as the first ambassadors into space. This determined blue-collar hero became a great space traveler. Played by Richard Dreyfus, the role was supposed to go to Steve McQueen as Spielberg's first choice. McQueen turned it down because he couldn't cry on cue. Enter the method actor Dreyfus and the rest is history.

98. Ben Luckett (Wilford Brimley)
Cocoon (1985)
In the movie Cocoon a group of grumpy old men and women discover a pool in the basement of their retirement home that gives them youthful energy thanks to some alien cocoons floating in the water. An informal leader of the group Luckett, played by Wilfred Brimley, was foul-mouthed and cranky. But he showed grace, confidence and leadership. Unlikely astronauts, he and some of his friends leave with the aliens into space to become students and teachers to new civilizations.

97. Ben Crandall (Ethan Hawke)
Explorers (1985)
Ben Crandall had a dream of traveling in space. Unfortunately, he was a little kid. Then, in the 1985 film Explorers a young Ethan Hawke dreamed of an amazing circuit board that created oxygen and atmosphere. Apparently that's all you need to create a spaceship. He and his friends made a homemade spacecraft and traveled the stars. While not a great movie, he lived every kid's dream that their contraption could explore the stars.

96. Major Don West (Matt LeBlanc)
Lost in Space (1998)

The 1998 remake of the classic show Lost in Space co-starred Matt LeBlanc as Major Don West, a fighter pilot in the "United Global Space Command." One of the bravest, boldest fighters on Earth. He gets drafted as the new pilot of the Jupiter Mission and quickly lays down the law when he and the Robinson family get stranded in uncharted space. Guns blazing he helped save the family on more than one occasion. He couldn't save the film, but at least LeBlanc had some good lines.

95. Augustine "Austin" Danger Powers (Mike Meyers)
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1990)

Austin Powers is an international man of mystery. Danger is his middle name. In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, his nemesis Doctor Evil installs a giant laser on the moon. He hitches a ride on Apollo 11 and becomes the grooviest space traveler ever. "Entertainment Weekly" ranked him 23 of "The 100 greatest characters of the last 20 years." He's number 95 on our list.

94. President Barbenfouillis (Georges Méliès)
Le Voyage Dans La Lune AKA A Trip to the Moon (1902)

In 1902 French silent movie Le Voyage Dans La Lune depicted brave astronomers using a huge cannon to travel to the moon. President Barbenfouillis and his companions brave the snowy Moon atmosphere to unroll sleeping bags and survive attacks by insect-like creatures. These guys are the very first space travelers on film. Because of its innovative use of special effects, star and director Georges Méliès is called the first "Cinemagician."

93. Luke Graham (Don Cheadle)
Mission to Mars (2000)

In the unremarkable Mission to Mars Luke Graham (Don Cheadle) achieved an impossible feat: surviving on the planet Mars in a greenhouse. In the year 2020, he gets stranded on the planet. A team is sent to rescue them and finds him alive and well with his plants. That scientifically impossible act makes him one of the bravest space travelers ever.

92. Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West) :UPDATED
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)

In this movie, McReady is stranded on Mars with no resources. He managed to survive on the planet Mars by finding food and oxygen. Okay, he had a little help from aliens and inaccurate science (like "air pills"), but it's still an impressive feat.

91. Penny Robinson: (Angela Cartwright)
Lost in Space (1965)

In the 1960s cult sci-fi U.S. television series Lost in Space Angela Cartwright played Penny Robinson, the spunky young girl of the Robinson family. Innocent, funny and full of energy she made being lost in space seem like fun.

90. Tom the Last Man (Hugh Jackman)
The Fountain (2006)

Yoga and space travel finally come together. The Fountain is a 2006 American romantic drama film starring Hugh Jackman. In one of the timelines a man from the future, known as Tom, travels the stars in a soap bubble. Using meditation and living with a tree he pilots the most unusual spacecraft ever devised toward a golden nebula. The most unique, and confusing astronaut ever.

89. Vreiss (Dominique Pinon)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Very few of the disabled are shown traveling into space, which is why it's cool to see Vreiss from the 1997 film Alien: Resurrection. Played by French character actor Dominique Pinon as a foul-mouthed, wheelchair bound wise-cracker he handled himself when faced with rampaging hordes of alien creatures. Even when suspended on someone's back he was able to find a joke. Anyone that would strap a shotgun to a wheelchair gets our vote.

88. John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner)
Babylon 5 (1993)

In the science-fiction series Babylon 5, John Sheridan was commander of the "Babylon 5" space station. As the second commander he took over during a time of upheaval. His decisive and strong-willed personality led him to become President of the Interstellar Alliance. Boxleitner is best known for Tron, but this role make's him one of sci-fi's greatest actors.

87. John Carter (Antonio Sabàto, Jr.)
A Princess of Mars (1917)

A American Civil War Virginian took a nap in a cave and woke up on Mars. That premise led to Edgar Rice Burrough's "Barsoom" novels which showed a planet rich in life and culture. Brave, bold and heroic John Carter thrilled readers for generations. Disney's 2012 film John Carter remains to be seen, but we have the horrific straight-to-DVD Princess of Mars starring Antonio Sabato Jr. and Traci Lords. Stick with the books for now.

86. Roj Blake (Gareth Thomas)
Blake's 7 (1978)

Set in the "third century of the second calendar", Blake's 7 a British science-fiction series from the eighties follows the exploits of revolutionary Roj Blake. Played by Gareth Thomas, he leads his band of rebels against the forces of the totalitarian Terran Federation which rules the Earth and planets of the galaxy. An idealistic freedom fighter he was a bold traveler of the galaxy.

85. Col. Charles Brubaker (James Brolin)
Capricorn One (1978)

He never actually made it to Mars, but he survived NASA's death squads and exposed the conspiracy.

84. Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) UPDATED
Contact (1997)

In Contact, astronomer Arroway (Jodie Foster) decodes an alien signal with blueprints to construct an alien machine. When the enters the machine, she is transported to a dream-like encounter. We're not even sure if she went into space, but she's certainly one of the most unique astronauts of all time.

83. Gwen DeMarco aka Lt Tawny Madison (Sigourney Weaver)
Galaxy Quest (1999)

On the fictional show Galaxy Quest Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver), played Lt. Tawny Madison, the Computer Officer of the starship "Protector". Tawny was nothing but a brainless sex symbol. The only thing she did was read messages to and from the computer. In the 1999 movie of the same name Gwen showed courage and loyalty when she was kidnapped by aliens, shot into space and forced to act out her on-screen persona. Weaver later said Tawny was the exact opposite of her character Ellen Ripley in the Aliens films. She had some of the best lines and really helped that film become a cult classic.

82. Jeff Tracy (Peter Dyneley)
Thunderbirds (1965)

The greatest puppet explorers ever. Ex-astronaut Tracy led his team "Thunderbirds" and "International Rescue" in amazing vehicles to save the day. Voiced by veteran actor Peter Dyneley in 1965 they lived a "no-strings attached" life of adventure. There was a live action movie starring actor Bill Paxton, but we still love the original. He made the world a safer place for marionettes everywhere

81. Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

As the first black captain on Deep Space Nine, he broke new ground. He also made Sisko a "bad-axe," which earns extra points.

Come back tomorrow for numbers 80-61 as we count down the top 100 space travelers of all time!

Check out the whole list: #80-61 #40-21

How do you feel about the list so far? Who do you hope is on the list?


Ciara said...

There were just a few I hadn't heard of. I LOVED The Last Starfighter. I was such a sci-fi geek in my childhood. Who am I kidding, I still am. :)

Maurice Mitchell said...

The Last Starfighter is awesome. Can you believe I found the 25th Anniversary edition in the Walmart $5 bin?!

Michael Offutt said...

That is quite the comprehensive list you got going on there. Ethan Hawke as a kid that young...wow. I had no idea his career started so early. I also really like Jodie Foster's character in the movie adaptation of Carl Sagan's "Contact".

Maurice Mitchell said...

Michael, I was surprised by that one too! Foster is always good.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Actually I think you'll find that, were Buzz Aldrin allowed on this list, he would come second.

Martianlic said...

Hey..where is Uncle Martin ? (Ray Walston)


Peter Greenwood
Jack Chertok Tv.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Martinlic, that's a really good question. We were going to put him in, but he's a Martian not a human. Look for our top 100 aliens coming soon though. He'll definitely be in there
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