US/World News

After lunar crashing: Beresheet 2.0

(JNS) SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn announced on Thursday, April 11 that there will be a second Beresheet lunar spacecraft, following the first Israeli moon mission ending unsuccessfully last week when the spacecraft crashed into the moon’s surface. “We’re actually going to build a new [spacecraft], we’re going to put it on the moon, and we are going to complete the mission,” he said in a video released by SpaceIL. Kahn, who mentioned he was encouraged by worldwide feedback on the first mission. Beresheet lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 21 and almost completed its 6.5-million-kilometer journey to the moon. On Thursday, a failure in its main engine just before touchdown caused it to crash into the lunar surface. Immediately after the result, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will make another attempt. “If at first you don’t succeed, try again,” he said.

The initial project started eight years ago when its co-founders attempted to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge by being the first private team to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back to Earth high-definition video and images. The contest ended in March 2018 with no winner. However, SpaceIL’s implementers pressed on, acquiring the backing of multiple donors, including Kahn. SpaceIL’s effort was assisted by NASA. Only the United States, Russia and China have landed crafts on the moon, with India working on it. On Friday, XPRIZE announced it will award SpaceIL with a $1 million award for being just the seventh nation to orbit the moon.

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