The first attempt by a private organization to land a spacecraft on the Moon has ended in failure after contact with the Beresheet lander was lost at around 19.30 GMT today just minutes before it was due to touch down. Had SpaceIL’s craft landed successfully, it would have made Israel the fourth nation to reach the Moon, after the US, the Soviet Union and China.
“If at first you don’t succeed, you try again,” said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the control room, moments after the presumed crash was announced.
Beresheet was aiming to touch down within the Mare Serenitatis (The Sea of Serenity), which lies in the northern hemisphere of the Moon. Designed to inspire an Israeli “Apollo Effect”, the mission has been closely followed across the world and despite falling at the final hurdle its endeavours will surely have inspired many.
“Beresheet offers inspiration to all those who are fascinated by Space exploration but feel it is too hard or too expensive,” said mission scientist Oded Aharonson from the Weizmann Institute, Israel, ahead of the attempted landing. “In addition to learning something new about the Moon, it also offers a unique opportunity for educating young people in ...