The Arkhgaiizim Passageway is a central element in my new novel, Returning, which goes on sale 3 April 2017. Essentially a wormhole in the space-time continuum, an Arkhgaiizim Passageway allows Imperial Gehunite spacecraft to travel astronomical distances without the need for several generations to be born, live, and die on the ship before it reaches its destination. By making use of an Arkhgaiizim Passageway, the ship is able to make an instantaneous jump of up to 850 light years, during which the crew will age, at most, a few seconds.
This is very useful, provided the goal is simply one of exploration. Such is the case with Gehunite ships, the larger ones also carrying prospective colonists, should they encounter suitable unoccupied planets. Policy with regard to planets already having native life is one of strict non-interference, and even non-contact, unless the occupants of that planet have already ventured into space.
Were the goal one of conquest, this would be pointless. Though the ships are commissioned into the Imperial Navy, and commanded and crewed by naval personnel, their primary function remains exploration. The sort of faster-than-light travel and communications beloved of television and motions pictures, unfortunately, still violates the laws of physics, which dictate that nothing having mass can travel faster than light.
Nor does this allow practical warp drives, though here the laws of physics seem to agree with the possibility. By warping space, the hypothesis suggests, one could bring two distant points together and move instantly between them, traversing light year distances without actually having to exceed the speed of light. Originally, it was thought that an Arkhgaiizim Passageway would work this way. But when a test was conducted, in which the test ship made a modest five light year jump, spent a few hours exploring, and then immediately jumped back, a problem was discovered.
The crew, who were, after all, only a few hours older than when they left, were both astonished and dismayed to discover that they had actually been gone for ten years, and were presumed to have died during the test jump. Nature, it appeared, was not to be cheated. It was now possible to use technology to travel at a speed of .9999 light speed using the Arkhgaiizim Passageway, but that was as fast as anyone could travel, and regardless of the fact that no one aboard the ship got any older in the process, the rest of the universe did, and it still took 200 years to travel 200 light years from the perspective of anyone not aboard the ship.
It says a great deal about the Gehunite character that this didn't discourage the Empire from building more and larger ships that would be able to explore deep space, even though their crews might not return home for thousands of years. Because of this, exploration became essentially a quest for pure knowledge, even if the beneficiaries of that knowledge, when the ships returned to Earth, would live in the far distant future.
This isn't something you could expect an organization like NASA to do today. This is not because NASA wouldn't care to do this sort of pure science, but because there is almost no chance it could be funded even if the technology already existed. Which it doesn't. Most NASA long-range projects have a life of no more than eight years, because that is the practical limit of any one President's influence unless he/she came to the job as a vice-president elevated upon the death of a predecessor during the latter half of that predecessor's term, which would allow the new president to run twice on his/her own ticket.
Projects have this limit simply because it's unlikely any successor President will continue with them. The new President will start new projects, not continue old ones he won't get the credit for.
The closer to pure science a project is, the more likely it is to be canceled. Making the Administration look good can keep a project going. So can having a military value. Pure science, on the other hand, and particularly during a Republican administration, becomes harder to justify. The payoff may be years down the road. Or it may conflict with party policy. There is a strong strain of neo-Lysenkoism in the Republican Party, where the politicians tell the scientists the results they want, then expect the scientists to get those results. There's no question that climate is changing, and that human action is largely responsible for the rate, but as this conflicts with the results expected by the energy company donors that dictate policy to Republicans, only those results that agree with what's expected are cited. This is the reason behind the frequent citation of reports by Nobel laureates who disagree with the whole concept of anthropogenic climate change, despite the fact that the Nobel Prize winner is no more competent to express a scientifically informed opinion on climate than your average Conservative talk radio host (most of whom are barely competent to express an opinion on anything).
Deep space exploration, particular deep space exploration that would make use of an actual Arkhgaiizim Passageway, is unlikely to be financed simply because there would be no payoff within the lifetimes of anyone voting to finance it. Americans are loathe to spend money on anything that doesn't pay off immediately, or have a clear military use. This is why Europe has the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and all the United States has is a big hole in the ground in Texas where the Superconducting Super Collider would have been installed if congress hadn't canceled it in 1993.