Skip to Content
Space

This is the last image Israel’s lunar lander took before it crashed into the moon

April 12, 2019

Israel-based organization SpaceIL lost control of lunar lander Beresheet during the landing attempt on Thursday evening.

What happened: During the lander’s descent onto the moon, the main engine failed and shut down. Once it got back online, communications with Beresheet were gone, indicating a likely crash landing. “Israel made it to the moon. Beresheet’s journey hasn’t ended,” said the chairman of SpaceIL, Morris Kahn. “I expect Israel’s next generation to complete the mission for us.” The above photo is one of the last shots the craft sent back of the lunar surface.

The community response: SpaceIL was originally formed to take part in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which ended with no winner. But the competition’s organizer, the X Prize Foundation, has said it will still award the $1 million “Moonshot Award” to the team despite the failed landing. A number of prominent members of the space community took to Twitter to offer both condolences and congratulations. Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin tweeted: “Never lose hope—your hard work, teamwork, and innovation is inspiring to all!”

A major accomplishment: The mission still achieved a number of milestones, despite not sticking the landing. As the head of Israel Aerospace Industry’s space division, Opher Doron, said during a live stream, Israel is now the seventh country to orbit the moon and the fourth to reach the surface. SpaceIL is also the first former Lunar X Prize team (see “Why getting back to the moon is so damn hard”) and private organization to send a craft into lunar orbit.

Want to keep up to date with space tech news? Sign up for our space newsletter, The Airlock.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?

Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.

How to befriend a crow

I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.

Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not

Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.