China’s Tiangong space station could help pave the way for a manned mission from Mars with its use of a propulsion system that has never before been deployed for a manned spacecraft.The space station’s core Tianhe module is powered by four ion drives – also known as Hall effect thrusters – a form of electronic propulsion that has been around for decades and could dramatically slash the time needed to travel to the red planet.The four ion drives that power the Tianhe module, which is expected to…


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