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[i]In a touch of celestial irony, Ernst Stuhlinger, who proposed a way to fly to Mars more than 40 years ago, died on the day NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander arrived on the Red Planet.
The late rocket scientist, who was Wernher von Braun's science adviser, had conceived an ion propulsion-based spacecraft for missions to Mars, said noted author Homer Hickam.
"He and von Braun didn't believe the chemical rockets would be able to reach Mars," he said. "He proposed ion propulsion back in the 1960s.
"If that had been implemented, we'd be walking around on Mars today."[/i]
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