The Final Frontier
Tech ForecastThe tech forecast I chose to focus on was the Moon Base. The Moon Base was funded by President George W. Bush to allow NASA to set up a manned colony on the moon, with the idea of using the Moon Base as a launching point for a mission to Mars. There are also efforts being funded by the European Union for a manned moon colony called Aurora. Halal reports that the tech forecasters believe(d)with 50% confidence that a Moon Base would be established sometime around 2028. The TechCast.org site has since updated this estimate to 2032.
Impacting ForcesThere are several forces impacting the progress towards a Moon Base.
EconomicalThe most impactful one I believe is an economical force. The current economic environment in the United States, and the European Union makes it difficult to justify spending on Space Exploration. With the economic hardships being felt around the world, what world leader would be willing to take brunt of an attack by establishing a policy to fund a Moon Base? Without a real, driving need for a Moon Base funding will be scarce for the foreseeable future.
GlobalThere are also global considerations that need to be taken into consideration. Who has the property rights to establish a moon colony? The first one's there? Will this be the space equivalent to the Oklahoma land rush? I don't think so. The precedent has been set with the International Space Station to have a joint venture into this environment. I do believe there will be conflict over the settlement though since not all countries are part of the ISS project.
My ForecastBased upon the two forces listed, along with others, I believe the Moon Base will occur much later than the techcast.org forecast of 2032. With the current situation I believe the Moon Base won't occur until 2045 or later.
Technologies Promise, Ch 7; William E. Halal