Buzz Aldrin offers condolences after Israel's failed moon landing

Buzz Aldrin offers condolences after Israel's failed moon landing

Buzz Aldrin offers condolences after Israel's failed moon landing

Following a almost two-month journey, the first private robotic spacecraft to attempt a Moon landing is on track to meet its goal on April 11, and NASA is a partner in SpaceIL's Beresheet mission.

What happened: During the lander's descent onto the moon, the main engine failed and shut down.

That initial problem took place when Beresheet was at an altitude of 14 kilometers. But the competition's organizer, The XPrize foundation, has said it will still award the $1 million "Moonshot Award" to the team despite the failed landing. Engineers were able to restart the engine, but by this time the spacecraft was too close to the surface to slow down sufficiently.

"It makes it really hard to test" the spacecraft's landing back on Earth, he added.

The privately-funded Israeli organisation SpaceIL announced on Twitter that the landing had failed at 9pm. Indian Space Research Organisation, which nearly lost the race to Beresheet in December last after Chandrayaan-2 project got delayed due to technical problems, can now hope to enter the elite space club of three countries -Russia, US and China- as the launch of its Rs 800cr second moon mission is scheduled in May.

"Beresheet crashed on the surface of the moon after the main engine broke down", Eylon Levy, a journalist for i24News, tweeted after the failure. "The geological and atmospheric conditions are different on the moon and the planets than they are on Earth", said American University professor Howard McCurdy, who has written several books about space.

The Israeli spacecraft was the first privately funded probe to attempt a soft landing on the Moon.

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In March, Mike Pence, US Vice President had revealed that the Trump administration wants to speed up the lunar mission, a move to affirm the dominance of the country as a space superpower. NASA, for example, spent about $469 million in the 1960s on seven similarly sized Surveyor lunar landers.

Beresheet transmitted one final photo from about 23km above the lunar surface, shown above, before its failure.

Despite this major hiccup, Israel's Beresheet mission still had some positive accomplishments: On April 4, Israel became the seventh nation to orbit the moon, and Beresheet managed to capture some unbelievable photos of the far side of the moon.

With significant financial backing from private investors, however, Beresheet did eventually enter outer space on February 21. "It's not zero, and it's not 100". "True, not as we had hoped, but we will succeed in the end. It can be cool", said SpaceIL Kfir Damari. "We're looking forward to future opportunities to explore the Moon together". Science and engineering is hard.

An artist rendering of the Beresheet lander.

Meir Nissim Nir, director of advanced space systems at IAI, said at the Microsymposium 60 lunar exploration workshop last month outside Houston that those landers could be ready for missions as soon as late 2020 if contracts were signed soon and the work done in Israel. The BBC reported it was built in the United Kingdom.

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