From the article: "This means you need a huge vacuum chamber to perform any sort of accurate test of an electrical propulsion engine and the chamber needs to be capable of a very high vacuum during the test since even small amounts of residual gas can mess up electric-thruster measurements. Of course, you could test the engine in space, which is big and has vacuum pretty much everywhere."
Thus the reason for a Moonbase. A variety of economically profitable enterprises would be easier to support closer to Earth while engines and other technologies are refined. Once advanced engine technologies are on-line, Mars missions will be more attractive (to investors). Blowing the entire wad just to set foot on Mars with nothing to allow a follow-up makes poor business sense.
Sad to see little camps fight.
Can't we all just get along?
I'm gonna hurl. Mother Nature thinks very highly of competition, and it is a fundamental aspect of being human. Competition keeps us sharp. This does not mean that competition must be destructive. "Fisticuffs" will not decide which engine is better. Just don't call the Enterprise
a garbage scow in front of Scotty.