Why NASA is trying to crash land on Mars

Nine times, NASA has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars, using sophisticated parachutes, enormous airbags, and jetpacks to secure the vehicle to the planet's surface.

Engineers are currently testing whether or not crashing is the quickest way to reach the Martian surface.

An experimental lander concept named SHIELD uses a collapsible base that resembles an accordion and absorbs impact energy similarly to a car's crumple zone rather than slowing a spacecraft's rapid descent.

By streamlining the terrifying entry, descent, and landing process and increasing the number of potential landing locations, the new design might significantly lower the cost of landing on Mars.

According to SHIELD's project manager Lou Giersch of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, "We think we could go to more hazardous locations, where we wouldn't want to risk trying to deploy a billion-dollar rover with our existing landing systems."

"Perhaps we could even land many of these to create a network at other hard-to-reach sites."