Remember the Israeli spacecraft that crashed on the moon? It left a smudge

Crash site can be used to monitor lunar soil evolution

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

Left: Beresheet crash site. Right: Enhanced image of the crash site. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

Israeli's spacecraft that crashed on the moon last month during a landing attempt left a little mark on the lunar surface and NASA's spacecraft has found it.

Nonprofit SpaceIL successfully put its spacecraft Beresheet into orbit around the moon, a first for Israeli, but the landing ended in failure April 11 when it came down too fast and crashed into the moon.

Beresheet launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral in February.

Engineers behind the $100 million spacecraft said a technical glitch caused the main engine to shut down and later "made it impossible to slow the spacecraft's descent."

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera has documented Beresheet's final resting place before and after the crash. The lander was designed to touch down within the Mare Serenitatis on the northern. The location was chosen because of the site’s magnetic anomalies.

Black and white images taken 11 days after the impact show a dark "smudge" about 10 meters across, according to Arizona State University. The camera's principal investigator leading the imaging team is based at ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration.


See more images of moon’s surface before and after Beresheet’s impact, here.

Although it didn’t survive the crash the failure can still serve a scientific purpose. The site can be used to document how lunar soil evolves over time.

The name of the spacecraft was selected though crowd sourcing. Beresheet means “in the beginning” or “Genesis," and SpaceIL officials hoped the mission would inspire future generations of space explorers.

SpaceIL officials have said they are planning a second attempt with Beresheet 2.

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