It's just a matter of time! Okay, a matter of time, money and the extensive research of getting into space and being able to survive there for long, long periods of time. Yes, the human race will eventually colonize another planet, or perhaps one of the orbiting moons of said planet. We have to get there first, however. But when? Why is it taking so long?
First, when will this all happen? The facts are that after the Apollo Moon missions, no living human being has ever traveled beyond our beloved Earth's orbit. The public got sick and tired of shelling out tons of money to watch what seemed to be the same old repetitive Moon explorers bring home rocks. There is only so much money to go around, and money allocated for space went into the space shuttle. I'm talking about the lion's share of those dollars, and yes, there were small allocations to robot craft and so forth. But to build and maintain interplanetary spacecraft is one expensive program! So that is why nothing has happened since those brave Apollo astronauts stepped on another planetary body all those years ago. And that is why it's taking so long for Mankind to gear up and design and build those interplanetary rocket ships. So is it going to happen? The answer is yes!
President Obama has been re-elected, and his dream of reaching for a landing on asteroids as a stepping stone mission so that we can finally establish a Mars mission has a very, very good shot of happening, in the time period of 2025. If Romney won the presidency, who knows what would have happened. My instinct tells me he would have gutted Obama's plans for the asteroid mission, and then NASA would have to start all over again trying to convince the politicians that we need a manned mission to another heavenly body. But politics is for another article, and it's important to point out the actual facts.
There are a lot of obstacles to overcome in the quest for a manned interplanetary mission. There are propulsion issues, as we are still using chemical rockets, although the ion-powered robot spacecraft looks to be a success after it's recent asteroid mission. But there are pros and cons, and they need to be sorted out. There are also medical questions to be considered, dangers such as radiation exposure and designing spacecraft that are properly shielded to ward off those and other dangerous elements. Of course, there is always the economic reality, and the fight to fund these missions, which gets back to the ugly subject of politics again. So there is certainly a lot of hard work ahead of us, but it will happen, and I, for one, can't wait!