Israeli group says it will make a second attempt to land on the Moon

  • This image was taken shortly before the Beresheet spacecraft began its final descent to the Moon.


  • This was the final image of the Moon that returned from the spacecraft.


  • Beresheet captured this image of the Moon from an altitude of 500 km.


On Saturday, just two days after the Beresheet spacecraft crashed into the Moon, the president of SpaceIL said the organization would move forward. Starting this week, said Morris Kahn, a new task force will learn from its faults and begin to develop a new plan for a Beresheet 2 spacecraft.

"We are going to build a new spacecraft, we will place it on the Moon and we will complete the mission," said Kahn, a billionaire who personally donated $ 40 million to the Israeli private effort.

So far, SpaceIL has provided some additional details about the project, such as when it could be started. The original project, which began winning the Google Lunar XPrize, began eight years ago.

On Sunday, in an AMA reddit, one of the team's engineers, Ben Nathaniel, added this on the new proposal. "Beresheet 2 has just been announced, it will be an important project that will require great planning, coordination and, last but not least, funding, at this time there are so many factors at play that we can not yet make a prediction exactly when it will be released. We hope to remain the first private company to land on the Moon. "

Also this weekend, SpaceIL published preliminary information on what could have gone wrong with the landing attempt, which was carried out autonomously. The first technical problem occurred about 14 km above the surface of the Moon, which triggered a chain of events that caused the main engine of the spacecraft to temporarily fail. (This may have involved one of the Beresheet IMU, or inertial measurement units, but therefore, SpaceIL has not specified a cause). At this point, the ship was already committed to landing on the Moon.

Finally, the function of the main engine returned, but at that point the ship was only 150 meters above the ground, moving 500 km / h to the surface. Needless to say, this was a terminal velocity. SpaceIL engineers intend to conduct "extensive tests" this week to better understand the sequence of events that caused a temporary failure of the main engine.

Meanwhile, the project has been applauded for its openness and its willingness to fail in public view. NASA has had a similar policy since the beginning of its exploration efforts.

"I want to thank @TeamSpaceIL for making this landing with millions of people around the world, despite knowing the risks," said the chief scientist of NASA, Thomas Zurbuchen, tweeted after the landing attempt. "We do the same because we believe in the value of exploration and inspiration throughout the world, and we encourage all international and commercial explorers to do the same!" This seemed a not too subtle push towards China, which recently landed on the other side of the Moon, but only announced that fact several hours after the success of the mission.

Listing image by SpaceIL

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