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Originally posted by netbound
Assuming our economy survives, around 2030 sounds right for Mars.
There are a lot of scenarios/factors to consider. A few of them are:
1) A political reason, like competition with China, Europe, Russia, etc. would be a big push.
2) Economic status. Can we afford to go? Or will we have things like stupid wars, or other foolhardy ventures, eating up our budget?
3) How soon will commercial ventures start outperforming and overshadowing NASA? If we have NASA funding and never ending wars to count on, then it may be quite some time before we ever get there.
4) Might there become an overwhelming need to step up our technology in a hurry? Say we discover something of cosmic origin that threatens the entire solar system, but it will be 100 years or so before it is to arrive? I can imagine technology advancing rather quickly in that case.