What exactly is it about Space which is so compellingly interesting? If you're not obsessed with science fiction like I am, you might not stumble upon the answer right away, despite the fact that it is a spiderweb as old as the human species. It is adventure into the unknown and space, as infinite as it is, is a really, very, extremely large place to explore. Our biggest problem has been the fact that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, which is a metaphor for saying that we desire far more than we are able to tolerate.
This is where our imagination has come to bear, and has done so since the time of man began and the recollection of contiguous thought became commonplace. Space is so vastly open and distances are so immense it almost requires that human imagination embue it with the ability to be folded, spindled, or otherwise mutilated in order to facilitate timely travel. We often explain a three day trip from Earth to Mars with technology, a gimick which Star Trek became very famous for in The Next Generation.
Star Trek also brought another aspect to space which had rarely been capitalized on before; space as a character. There were regions of space which were interesting. Borg space where the Borg live and expand from. The Badlands where plasma storms reign. Fluidic space where Species 8472 dwell in liquid. Warp space where man-made bubbles allow near-light travel. Each of these places afforded the Star Trek writers (and those of the hopeful future) to craft fantastic and engaging tales of captivating lifeforms.
Sometimes it is the absence of explanation which grants space a mystical aspect. In others space can be so mundane as to bring nothing to the story but an explanation of why the trip is so boring and lengthy. Its the size and volume of space itself which offers us so many opportunities to create new and intriguing possibilities for human and alien kind. One of the most adventurous aspects of space is the very real threat of near instant death. What can be more compelling than than will and ability to survive so one can explore the unknown and discover wonders never before seen by the human eye.
Until then, we'll just have to make due with the creative abilities of our most amazing writers. Maybe one day I'll be considered one.