NASA releases photographs of ‘Beresheet’ lunar crash

May 17, 2019 by JNS
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NASA has released pictures of the moon after Israel’s “Beresheet” spacecraft crashed on its surface last month.

NASA released photos of the crash area by SpaceIL’s “Beresheet” spacecraft, which failed to land on the moon on April 11, 2019. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

“The cameras captured a dark smudge, about 10 meters wide, that indicates the point of impact,” said NASA. “The dark tone suggests a surface roughened by the hard landing, which is less reflective than a clean, smooth surface.”

“There are many clues that we’re actually looking at a man-made crater, instead of a meteoroid-caused one,” added the agency. “This is an important consideration since the moon, having no atmosphere, is constantly bombarded by space rocks that leave craters.”

The spacecraft “Beresheet,” named after the first word and the first book in the Torah (meaning “in the beginning”), lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 21 and almost completed its 6.5-million-kilometre journey to the lunar surface.

Immediately after the result, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will make another attempt, likely in the next two to three years. SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn said shortly thereafter that there will be a second attempt.

The SpaceIL effort was assisted by NASA. Only the United States, China, and Russia have landed crafts on the moon, with India working on it.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told JNS earlier this month that the agency will “100 percent” be part of “Beresheet 2.”

“We look forward to it,” he said.


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