Here’s Where Beresheet Crashed into the Moon | Universe Today
Categories: MissionsMoonNews

Here’s Where Beresheet Crashed into the Moon

The Beresheet lander came oh-so-close to touching down on the surface of the Moon, but something went wrong and it didn’t make it. Now, thanks to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the exact point of impact can be seen.

The images were captured 11 days after Beresheet crashed into the Moon. Beresheet would’ve been the first private spacecraft to reach the Moon (with some government assistance) but it couldn’t quite get there. As it approached the surface, there was an engine failure and the craft couldn’t slow its descent.


Left: Beresheet crash site, M1310536929R. Right: Ratio of after/before images enhancing subtle changes to brightness of the surface, M1310536929R/M1098722768L, scale bar is 100 meters, north is up, both panels are 490 meters wide [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The impact didn’t produce a crater because of the angle of impact. At about a ten degree angle, the spacecraft gouged the surface rather than creating a crater, which is more typical of a steeper angle.

The gouge or smudge itself is probably a roughened surface caused by the lander’s impact and disintegration. Scientists with the Lunar Reconnaissance think that the increased reflectiveness is caused by gases or very fine high speed particles that smoothed the lunar surface.

Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander took a selfie and an Earthie on its way to the Moon. Sadly, the lander didn’t land successfully and was destroyed on impact. Image Credit: Israel Space Agency, SpaceIL.

It’s perhaps counter-intuitive, but the crash itself can still be a scientific opportunity. By studying the impact site, and the impact sites of other lunar probes like the GRAIL and LADEE probes, scientists might learn something about the lunar regolith and how it might change over time.

Ultimately, Beresheet wasn’t successful, but as the first non-profit spacecraft to make it that close to another world, it’s still a landmark mission. And they’ve announced that there will be a Beresheet 2. Hopefully that mission will be successful.

Evan Gough

Comments are closed.

Recent Posts

ExoMars Parachute Test Fails, for the Second Time

The ExoMars 2020 mission hit another snag recently when a high-altitude parachute test resulted in damage again to one of…

18 hours ago

Carnival of Space #625

This week's Carnival of Space is hosted by me at the CosmoQuest blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space…

19 hours ago

When it Comes to Gamma Radiation, the Moon is Actually Brighter Than the Sun

The eerie, hellish glow coming from the Moon may seem unreal in this image, since it's invisible to our eyes.…

3 days ago

Why Build Big Rockets at All? It’s Time for Orbital Refueling

On Tuesday, July 30th, NASA announced 19 different partnerships with 13 different companies to use their expertise to help them…

4 days ago

An Astrophotographer Noticed a Chunk of Ice Orbiting Comet 67P in Rosetta’s Photos

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta mission spent two years at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. At the end of September 2016,…

5 days ago

Neutron Star Suffers a “Glitch”, Gives Astronomers a Glimpse Into How They Work

What, exactly, is the inside of a neutron star like? A neutron star is what remains after a massive star…

6 days ago