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NASA’s lunar orbiter spots the smoking hole left behind by Israel’s moon lander

16 May 2019, 17:55 UTC
NASA’s lunar orbiter spots the smoking hole left behind by Israel’s moon lander
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A processed image from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, taken on April 22, highlights the dark smudge and bright impact halo left behind by the Beresheet lunar lander’s impact (NASA / GSFC / ASU Photo)
The Israeli-built Beresheet moon lander made history when it went into lunar orbit and descended to the surface — and although it didn’t survive its crash landing, it did leave a mark that’s likely to endure for millennia.
Weeks after the April 11 smashup, NASA has released imagery from its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showing the dark blast site and spray of debris that Beresheet kicked up.
The orbiter was over the horizon when the lander fell to the surface due to a last-minute programming glitch and engine shutdown. But it was in a good position to snap a picture of the crash site on April 22 from a height of 56 miles (90 kilometers).
Here’s how NASA interpreted the image in Wednesday’s advisory:
“The cameras captured a dark smudge, about 10 meters wide, that indicates the point of impact. The dark tone suggests a surface roughened by the hard landing, which is less reflective than a clean, smooth surface.
“From so far away, LROC could not ...

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