Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport Adds MOON to List of Destinations

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"They said that they were going to participate in a Google competition". SpaceIL's attempt at landing Beresheet on the moon today is exactly why.

In other words, despite the less-than-perfect landing, Xprize will still award the group their full $1-million United States dollars prize so SpaceIL can "continue their work and pursue Beresheet 2.0" in the near future.

An illustration shows the Beresheet lander, the moon and the Earth.

When Google folded the contest, SpaceIL chose to continue on. The project cost a measly $100 million. After the fate of the spacecraft became clear, Rivlin said, "Thanks to all the people who brought the Israeli spacecraft to the moon". "It nearly seems un-doable, and even if it was doable, it takes somebody with imagination to actually see why you would do it". It is a privilege to be part of this mission that's taking one more step towards solving it'.

But, he added, "While it failed to land successfully, overall it was a path-breaking and innovative project". Beresheet's original objective was to settle on Mare Serenitatis, or the Sea of Serenity, where it would have taken images and measured the magnetism of lunar rocks.

The one-way trip was to have included an attempt to measure the lunar magnetic field, which would have helped to understand the moon's formation.

This did not come to pass, though.

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About the size of a washing machine, the 585kg (1,290lb) robotic lander experienced an engine and communication failure in the last seconds of touchdown. However, the main engine briefly failed during the manoeuvre.

The next few years were defined by successes for both agencies until July 21, 1969, when - just as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were completing the first moonwalk - Luna 15 lost contact with ground control and likely barreled into the lunar surface.

IAI has expressed an interest in using that platform for future missions.

The mission was far from a total failure, though. "And that caused an unfortunate chain of events we're not sure about", he said. "It's a tremendous achievement up 'til now". "I think we can be proud".

"While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. But Beresheet was not a science mission at heart. "It just takes one little glitch", he said. But after grappling with a last-minute engine failure, the dishwasher-sized probe appears to have crashed into the rocky face of Earth's satellite.

"We've actually gotten to more than a million young students, and we excited them about space", Kahn said. I'm glad we did it.