So I've got a colony ship crashing onto a world, and I want to reality check its effects on ship, crew and landscape.
Firstly the ship is fairly large. Its job is to seed human colonies on alien worlds, and while it can move faster than light, its journey time length it still expected to be decades and thus it carries families and extensive facilities with it to cover every expected need.
However, on its final approach to the earth-like planet, it was planning to colonise, things go very wrong, and it loses the ability to properly slow down as it enters the atmosphere and crashes into the planet.
Couple of key points that need to be true for the sake of the story.
- Most of the crew need to die, but I need to be able technobable my way how a small number didn't. So I need to avoid a 100% fatality rate crash.
- I need some of the ship systems to still be repairable, the ship can -mostly- be a wreck, but not annihilated.
Now here come the bit where I'm wondering about the details.
Would it be reasonable to assume that a large ship would likely create a new canyon-like effect if it crashed at the right angle and slide across the surface?
What kind of damage would a mostly metallic hull likely suffer and what would it look like? Crumpling, discolouration?
I'm going to assume the main causes of death would likely be g-force related and fire.. so broken bones and people being smashed against walls? Along with people being burned alive and smoke inhalation?
Another factor that's important, is the crash site been left for a few hundred years in a earth like climate. Besides the obvious rotting, are there other factors I need to be aware of?