From a thread awhile back someone proposed combining the landing module from the Apolo moon landing program, the space shuttle and a booster rocket to get people to Mars. the lunar landing mod. as was pointed out was not designed for the extra gravity of Mars, but it got me thinking, could it be retrofitted w/ a chute and maybe some extra fuel. (Now I know if you retrofit enough you could have the Concord land on Mars but I’m talking about very simple changes here.)
This is why I think is would work:
1 using the atmoshpere as a brake, you would use far less fuel for decent. - but getting down is the easy part
2 the lunar modual was loaded with rocks and luner soil, probally many times it’s own weight, if you took just enought martian soil to fill a ziplock baggie, you should have enought power to launch the craft.
Hopefully someone will have a conclusive answer (this is why I posted it here)