Reentry is a tricky thing at best.
The Ph.D.s on the ground tell us that we’re always falling, in a manner of speaking. Way I look at it, orbiting the planet’s got nothing to do with the soul-shaking fall back into the atmosphere. Come in too steep and you’re toast. Too shallow and you’ve got a one-way ticket to the far reaches of space.
What do I know? I’m just a pilot. If any of us weren’t glued to the backs of our seats, we could look out the window and see the curve of the Martian horizon ever so slowly flatten.
The mission itself had been a success, as successes go. The planet’s main communications satellite had gone toe to toe with some space debris and most certainly did not walk away from that fight the victor. Crippled, but not dead, the contraption had lost touch with Earth, leaving the few colonies left back there in the dark.
“Lights out,” as they say.