Beresheet sent a selfie during the descent 13 miles above the lunar surface, just before the engine problems began. (Credit: SpaceIL)
The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, which was to land on the moon today, suffered a failure in the engine and communications, which caused it to crash into the lunar surface. Details are still emerging about exactly what went wrong.
In the last five minutes of the landing procedure, the mission control reported temporarily losing the telemetry data before recovering them again. Soon after, the main engine shut down, but the engineers managed to restart it. Then, they reported a failure in communications, followed by tense minutes of waiting. Finally, they announced the loss of the spacecraft, which led to the mission to an unwanted end.
However, the control room gave applause, recognizing the tremendous achievement they still achieved. With the flight of Beresheet, Israel became the seventh nation to orbit the moon, and technically the fourth to land on its surface, although not in the way they had expected.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, was present in the control room of the event. He told those present: "If at first you do not succeed, try again."
Although Beresheet arrived on the Moon after the 2018 deadline for Google's Lunar XPRIZE, which promised $ 20 million to the first soft ground company on the Moon and would complete a series of small tasks, on March 28 this year , XPRIZE announced that it will still offer a $ 1 million Moonshot prize if Beresheet could achieve a smooth landing alone.
However, after today's forced landing, XPRIZE announced that it will still award the $ 1 million prize.
– Peter Diamandis (@PeterDiamandis) April 11, 2019
This story continues to evolve and we will continue to update this article with more information as it becomes available.