NASA published a photo last week of what it says is the site of the crash of Israel's Beresheet lunar landing vehicle, developed by the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL.
The photo was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) 11 days after the spacecraft crashed into the moon's surface on April 11, destroying Israel's hopes of becoming the fourth country in the world (after from Russia, China and the United States) to complete a controlled landing of the moon.
The LROC took this image from 56 miles (90 kilometers) above the surface, capturing a dark spot, about 10 meters wide, that indicates the point of impact, NASA said. "The dark tone suggests a rough surface due to a hard landing, which is less reflective than a clean, smooth surface," he added.
"The light halo around the spot could have been formed by the gas associated with the impact or by the fine soil particles ejected during the descent of Beresheet, which smoothed the soil around the landing site, making it highly reflective," said NASA. .
NASA said it knew the coordinates of the landing site due to Beresheet radio tracking, and could make reference to 11 "before" images of the area taken over a decade, and three "later" images. The space organization also made reference to the craters previously created by spacecraft of similar size, GRAIL in 2012 and LADEE in 2014, which hit the moon at approximately the same speed.
"We saw that the white tail that extends from the landing halo to the south is a shape that matches the downward trajectory to the south of Beresheet and the approach angle," he said.
The LROC is expected to take pictures of the landing site when it passes through the same area again on May 19.
SpaceIL was privately funded by philanthropists, including its president, the South African Israeli businessman Morris Khan, but received government funds including $ 2 million from the Ministry of Science and Technology. The entire project cost an estimated $ 100 million.
Some 48 hours after the accident, SpaceIL said it would be building a new spacecraft called Beresheet 2 and launching a new mission to the Moon.