Beresheet, the first Israeli-built lander, crashed on the moon and the mission was deemed a failure, but a glimmer of hope has surfaced.
The spacecraft carried several devices, which would have been used to measure the conditions encountered on the lunar surface. Among them, there was a NASA-made sensor which “survived” the crash.
During the landing stage the engines of the spacecraft shut down, and the lander crashed on the surface of the moon after a few minutes of free-fall. At that time the impact was thought to be catastrophic, as the entire payload was compromised by the impact. However, it seems that the situation is a little different.
Among the instruments mounted on the spacecraft was a Lunar Retroreflector Array developed by NASA. The device was built as a guiding tool, as it can be used to plan a precise trajectory and to help spacecraft to land in a specific area.
NASA-made device aboard Beresheet lunar lander “survived” the crash
NASA believes that the device, which is smaller than the average computer mouse, could have survived. It was built to be resilient, radiation-resistant and usable for a long period. NASA will likely attempt to track down the gadget and the area were Beresheet crashed could be visited by a future moon mission.
Beresheet was quite an ambitious project, and a successful landing would have made Israel a member of a prestigious club, since only three other countries managed to land a spacecraft on the moon: the USA, Russia (the Soviet Union at that time) and China.
The project began an initiative enrolled in a competition held by Google. The tech giant attempted to encourage private companies to contribute to the development of the private space flight scene, and the idea was widely appreciated. While the contest ended without a clear winner, the team behind Beresheet managed to secure private funding, and the project continues.
SpaceIL has already announced that a team has been assembled and they will start to work on another spacecraft as the company plans to fulfill its goal of landing on the moon in the future.
Sam is a freelance writer who has experience writing in the digital world for 4 years after he quit his job. Sam’s interests in current world affairs gave him the drive to pursue a career in journalism. Sam originates from Russia, lived in Canada for a short time between 2011 and 2013, then moved to New York to pursue his career.