To grow up in the 1980's and watch technology go from it's constant nerdy stature to everyone now being connected on-line has been excellent. This also meant I grew up with Star Trek, Star Wars and all the rest where futuristic adventures take place using all kinds of technologies.
As many know not only do many of these technologies actually exist in millions of peoples home right now but those classic TV shows where the inspiration to investigate if they could be developed for real. So it's fair to say that to look ahead you actually have to look back.
Venturing out in space was obviously a key element and in terms of man travelling in space we pretty much sucked at it until only the last 1 maybe 2 decades. More important (apparently) world issues put an end to the real space race but now with major companies like Virgin and SpaceX at the forefront of space travel we have technologies evolving that we previously thought impossible.
So will we live on Mars? Yes. It's that clear cut as too many companies are focused on that goal entirely. The only foreseeable way that we will not live on Mars at some point is if there are unforeseen circumstances on Mars that prevent colonisation which we only discover upon arrival. Even with all the best probes and rovers in the world the circumstances are no different to when we first landed on the Moon. We had photos and satellites and all sorts but not until we set foot upon it did we truly understand its make up and more important experience as a human what it is like to be there, an element no robot no matter how good can test or probe for.
The reason the human experience is so crucial is no different to say motion sickness. Imagine if the only job In the world was on very rough sea fishing boats all day every day - you Never leave the boat. I would bet its fair to say a large percentage would be unable to work let alone live a normal life.
The planets and moons around us are known to have varying gravitational forces. This is important as we have not 100% explored Mars let alone the Moon and we already know that you can experience different gravitational forces just by travelling too a different location on the surface. Gravitational force as experience by humans is much like motion sickness, many people can vary in G force and often even enjoy it.. however there will always be those who really.. really don't.
Imagine yourself going to Mars to live, never return to Earth unbeknown that long term exposure to varying gravity causes you to fall ill. So what now?
I think that these short term missions (such as the live on Mars by 2020 (5 years way at this time..) ) are not only a waste of resources but potentially human life also. That being in such a rush will actually damage the space race if something does go seriously wrong which as always turns out was avoidable by further research after the fact. My money would be on SpaceX, while their end goal is also Mars their time frame to achieve their goal is unannounced as their is still far too much research to do. An approach more companies should take in my opinion.