NASA has unveiled a couple of black-and-white pictures depicting the crash site of Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander, which collided into the Moon’s surface on April 11 after a failure resulted in its descent engine to switch off ahead of its time. Among the photographs are images of ‘before’ and ‘after’ landscape of the crash place, which is located in a large field called ‘The Sea of Serenity’ on the Moon’s near side.
The images were uploaded online on Wednesday by the American space agency. An ‘after’ photograph captured 11 days after the crash, depicts a dark stain approximately 10 meters from where the spacecraft having four legs and the size of a washing machine crashed down.
There was no stain visible in the ‘before’ images captured back in 2016, only an abundance of craters of different sizes. The images were captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a camera-equipped spaceship that has been orbiting the Moon ever since the year 2009. LRO took pictures of the crash site from a distance of about 65 miles above the Moon’s surface.
NASA pinpointed where Israel’s first lunar lander, Beresheet, crashed on the Moon
Mark Robinson, a geologist from the Arizona State University and the leading investigator of LRO’s imagining arrangement wrote in a blog post uploaded online that the moment when it crashed, Beresheet was traveling at an estimated speed of 1,000 meters per second (above 2,200 miles per hour), much faster than planned to.
Designed and developed by the Israeli’s non-profit organization named SpaceIL, the $100 million Beresheet space probe was supposed to be the first privately financed spaceship to land on the Moon’s surface smoothly. Until now, the only space probes that have landed on the lunar surface have been those created and developed by Russia, China, and the United States.
Even if it hasn’t had a successful smooth landing, the Beresheet’s collision gives another example of small influence occurrences as the crash site can be paralleled with both the GRAIL and LADEE space probes that separately crashed on the Moon back in 2012 and 2014. The study of these collisions could give researchers a new judgment on how the lunar soil develops over time.
SpaceIL says that in spite of the brutal collision, it won’t give up. The non-profit organization’s founder Morris Kahn said in a video uploaded on Twitter that he intends to build a new Moon lander to complete the mission they planed.