GE Mars Mission

General Electric (GE) has been involved with the development of nuclear reactors for terrestrial power production since the mid-1950s. They also had aspirations for applying this technology to space exploration. In 1963, GE engineers outlined a plan for a crewed mission to Mars using nuclear propulsion. The multi-stage spaceship had elements for the long cruise phase, Mars landing and ascent, and then return to Earth. The Mars lander element featured a tail-sitting craft that has the wings of the X-20 Dyna-Soar topped by a Gemini crew capsule. A precariously long ladder would allow the crew to climb from the capsule to the surface. Even allowing for a larger habitation module for the long transits to and from Mars, this would be a daring, bare-bones way to put people on Mars. 

The modifications to the Gemini hardware were not specified in any detail, but it certainly is a striking adaptation of the basic Gemini design. The image above is my 1/72 scale model of the lander concept.