Space IL launched Beresheet on February 22 and after multiple maneuvers attempted to land the spacecraft on the moon, but a technical error during the landing caused the spacecraft to crash.
May 15, 2019 19:21
1 minute read.
Left: Beresheet impact site. Right: An image processed to highlight changes near the landing site among photos taken before and after the landing.
(photo credit: NASA/GSFC/ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY)
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NASA announced that they found the impact site where SpaceIL’s Beresheetspacecraft crashed on April 11, according to a NASA press release.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) took the photos as it passed over the landing site on April 22. The images were taken from 56 miles (90 km) above the surface.
— Yoav Landsman (@MasaCritit)May 15, 2019
The images show a “dark smudge,” about 10 meters wide, that indicates the point of impact, according to the NASA press release. The dark tone suggest a surface roughened by the hard landing.
The LRO could not detect whether Beresheet formed a surface crater on impact. It could be that the crater is to small to show up or that Beresheet formed a small indent instead of a crater.
The halo seen in the images could be from gas associated with the impact or from fine soil particles blown outward by Beresheet’s descent.
The location of the impact was determined by examining the crater to see if it was man-made or caused by meteoroids. NASA also used the coordinates from Beresheet’s radio tracking and examined before and after images of the site around the time of impact.
Space IL launched Beresheet on February 22 and after multiple maneuvers attempted to land the spacecraft on the moon, but a technical error during the landing turned off the craft’s main engine, dooming Beresheet to crash on the moon.
NASA’s LRO entered lunar orbit in 2009 and has returned a wide variety of data about the moon, including temperature maps and high resolution color imaging.
Eytan Halon contributed to this report.
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