Israel’s Beresheet Spacecraft Crashes into the Lunar Surface

Israel’s tiny robotic lander which was supposed to land on the surface of the Moon on Thursday, unfortunately, crashed before the landing. Well, it was a zealous attempt for the Israeli spacecraft to create history for being the first privately funded lunar landing.

Opher Doron, head of Israel Aerospace Industry’s space division stated that their spacecraft crashed on the surface of the Moon while descending. He stated while the lander was firing its main engine in order to land on the ground, certain breakdown happened. The spacecraft lost its communication with ground control. Although the ground team could reset the engine, communication couldn’t be made. Moments after that, the mission was called a failure.

Opher stated that the lander’s engine turned off completely before the touchdown, and scientists are still trying to find out the cause. The spacecraft, Beresheet, was scattered into pieces at the landing site. However, he stated that Israel became the seventh nation to orbit the Moon and the fourth to reach the surface of the Moon.

Beresheet was the product of an Israeli group known as SpaceIL and it’s the smallest and cheapest space probe to head to the Moon. Basically, SpaceIL had started to develop the spacecraft as part of the now-dead Google Lunar X Prize competition, a contest which was designed to send the first private vehicle to the Moon.

The live streaming of the event took place in front of a packed audience that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and it was televised live on national television.

Till the crash, the mission had been moving smoothly. The Beresheet hoped into Falcon 9 rocket and made its way into a wide orbit around Earth on February 21st. The spacecraft spent the last two months travelling out to the distance of the Moon. Last week, Beresheet entered lunar orbit in preparation for Thursday’s event. However, as the Lander was 4 miles from the surface, Beresheet’s engine stopped. The likely scenario is that the lander crashed and a new crater has been created on Moon.

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