Beresheet Comes Close, Apparently Crashes on the Moon

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Israel is the fourth country to reach the moon, even if it wasn't in one piece.

"We definitely crashed on surface of Moon", said the general manager of the space division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Opher Doron.

It lost communication with Earth just moments before it was due to make its lunar landing.

The lander carried a high-resolution video camera system, a magnetometer to map the moon's magnetic field and a mirror-like retroreflector that the laser altimeter on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter can use to gauge Beresheet's exact position on the surface. "We actually had the pleasure to launch our spacecraft with SpaceX, which I think is also an fantastic example of this, and now we're taking that to a new level, being the first private organization to reach the moon and hopefully land there".

The blunder occurred on a live feed in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, who arrived at the control center for the occasion. "And that caused an unfortunate chain of events we're not sure about", he said.

"We are full of admiration for the wonderful people who brought the spacecraft to the moon", Rivlin said.

The first private attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon came to a sad end today, after the Israel-based non-profit SpaceIL declared that the Beresheet spacecraft had failed to land successfully. "And we really are making this dream come true". It was the first privately funded mission to the moon.

The $100 million joint venture between SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. was financed mostly by Jewish philanthropists including Morris Kahn, SpaceIL's president and a founder of Amdocs Ltd., and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

If it had succeeded, the robotic lander, named Beresheet, which means "Genesis" or "in the beginning" in Hebrew, would have been the first on the moon by a private organization, and it would have added Israel to just three nations - the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China - to have accomplished that feat.

Only the US, China, and Russian Federation have successfully landed on the Moon.

"Space is hard, but worth the risks". A direct route from the Earth to the moon covers roughly 386,000 km. "It's been an fantastic journey, I hope we get a chance for another one".

The nonprofit SpaceIL team was founded in 2011 to go after the top award in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition. "I told him that 'if you're serious, I'm in.' The three of us met in a bar in the city of Holon, Israel, and over a couple of beers we took out a paper and started drawing what the spacecraft was going to look like".

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