I realize this may belong over in SciFi & Fantasy, but it's Friday and maybe the experts here will humor me.
Imagine if you will that the Cold War never happened. Instead, after WWII the governments of the US and Soviet Union come to the mutual agreement that it is in humanity's best interest to make space exploration a top priority. The first satellite launch is a joint effort. The first space capsule to orbit the Earth carries an American and a Soviet. Inspired by these achievements, China avoids a cultural revolution and embarks on the "Glorious Path to the Stars", rapidly modernizing their space program and joining the burgeoning global space initiative. In 1969, the whole world celebrates when astronauts from six different nations step out of a shared lunar lander and walk on the Moon. From here on, billions of dollars that once supported war budgets are instead devoted to R&D for space exploration.
With that as the backdrop, here are my questions. What could be possible outcomes of this unified effort to explore space? What would mankind's presence in space be in 2015 if organizations like NASA had the full support of their governments? Would we have already colonized Mars and be moving to planets beyond, or is mankind's ingenuity hampered by technological constraints that make the outcome of an idealized alternate history like this not so much different from the current status of space exploration?
Thank you for your thoughts and time.