It was supposed to come in fast, pop a drogue chute to slow it down to subsonic speeds, and then get caught in mid-air by a helicopter flown by Hollywood Stunt Pilots
They also have Hollywood camera crews out there, too.
Which may be why we were able to watch every second as the probe ripped in across the Oregon and Nevada skies and smacked into the Utah salt pans as the drogue chute failed to deploy.
We're getting even better pictures of the impact now -- it looks for all the world like a flying saucer crash. The probe is half-buried. It's cracked -- but not SHATTERED, like we thought it would be.
The samples, astoundingly enough, may just be salvagable.