SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit, had attempted to land a small robot on the lunar surface on April 11. The name of the lander was Beresheet, and Wonderful Engineering covered the news as well. Because of an erroneous command, apparently, the main engine of the lander was shut off.
SpaceIL rebooted Beresheet (the equivalent of tried switching it off and back on again) and was able to revive the engine; however, it had already been too late. Beresheet made an impact landing on the moon’s surface and was never to be heard from again.
Scientists at NASA claim that they have found the Beresheet’s impact site and were able to photograph it using the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that captures images of the moon’s surface on a regular basis. The before and after images that have been captured around 22nd April on Wednesdays how the results of the 1,300-pound heavy Beresheet’s high-speed crash.
Mark Robinson, a lunar researcher at NASA, said, ‘While the spacecraft did land, it first touched the surface about 1,000 meters per second, faster than intended.’ That’s the equivalent of 2,200 mph! The speed is about twice the speed of a bullet that has been shot from a gun. He further added that Beresheet made the impact at a sharp angle and disintegrated upon impact while leaving the lunar surface with a sizable scar.
As per Robinson, considering the speed of Beresheet; it gouged the lunar surface instead of forming a crater. This caused the spreading of soil for about 100 meters and left a ‘dark smudge’ that is about 10 meters in width. Robinson further said this about the Beresheet mission. Despite the mishap, it is important to remember that Beresheet was the first spacecraft developed and flown by a non-profit entity to orbit the moon. And SpaceIL has announced they will be trying again, with Beresheet 2!’