Israeli spacecraft, Beresheet, attempted to land on the moon’s surface on 11th April 2019, however the mission went south when the spacecraft crashed into the surface.
Sometime around 19:00 Israel time, the Beresheet began its final descent on the lunar surface, snapped an image of the moon to send back to Earth, when the Beresheet’s engine ceased firing. The team monitoring the spacecraft managed to get the system back online, however they were unable to establish communication with it. The lander appears to have crashed into the moon’s surface. Opher Doron, head of Israel Aerospace Industry’s space division, was speaking during when the landing was being live-streamed, “We had a failure in the spacecraft. We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully. We are the seventh country to orbit the Moon, and the fourth to reach the Moon’s surface. It’s a tremendous achievement up until now.”
The Beresheet, built by a SpaceIL a non-government funded organization, had entered the moon’s orbit on 4th April 2019, and become the seventh nation to achieve this feat. The process was sailing smoothly up until the Beresheet slowed down when it was within 4 km from its destination. Thereafter the engine stopped completely and all communication was lost with the spacecraft. The exact cause of the failure resulting in the crash is undetermined.
All hope is not lost as SpaceIL already hinted at another attempt in the future. Morris Kahn, president of SpaceIL, said shortly after the mission, “Well, we didn’t make it, but we definitely tried. And I think the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous. I think we can be proud.” Furthermore, Anousheh Ansari, the CEO of the X Prize Foundation which had announced a prize money of $1 million for a successful landing, said that the bonus will still go to the non-profit organization. “They managed to touch the surface of the Moon, and that’s what we were looking for in our ‘Moonshot’ award.” Anousheh Ansari stated.