The question here is whether you can send enough machines to get a base that can quickly develop on its own and would not face any serious constraints. This can be either achieved by miniaturisation or simply sending big enough ships.
-back up for our civilization;
-possibility to grow for our civilization further;
-source of interesting data; (deeply explored local environment and in long run simply more people living there and performing more experiments - matter of economics of scale)
However, sure that's far future. First we will:
1) tap the least welcoming places on Earth (ex. expect a rush for natural gas and oil in polar region)
2) then setting some scientific outpost on the Moon and maybe also Mars
3) then starting to sending mining expeditions to asteroids
4) then starting to seriously colonize Mars and the Moon
5) then look for some more exotic places to look for resources (like giant nuclear fusion Zeppelins circulating gas giants)
6) then go to stars
The believable (understood as that what will happen during our lives) is somewhere around late 1 and presumably 2.