This article has a neat run down of emerging technologies that are important for the future of space colonization. The fine people at space.com also list a few recent events that have made space colonization and space travel more feasible in the future. Of these recent 'events' is the general investment of large companies into aforementioned emerging technologies.
Here is McCullough's nice rundown of important industries from the article...
"McCullough pointed to photography, chemistry and quantum mechanics that have combined to produce a new industrial revolution. Electrical and mechanical engineering are on courses that appear to indicate unbounded exponential improvement. Delving into the structure of DNA has spurred a better understanding of the cellular processes. The human genome has been sequenced and micro biomechanics has taken off, he said.
Furthermore, the centuries old technology of printing has been extended to three dimensions with inks of polymers, ceramics, wood and metals."
Also, some of the emerging technologies from the article,
Pretty cool stuff.