July 26, 2021

NASA releases photos of Bereshit impact site

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, NASA released photos of the impact site where Israel’s Bereshit probe crashed into the moon, saying it looked like “a dark spot, about 10 meters long” on the surface lunar.

Even though it managed to reach lunar orbit, the small Israeli probe crashed while attempting to land on the moon on April 11. Project officials have vowed they will fix the technical issues behind the incident and make a second attempt to become the fourth nation to land a probe on the moon.

NASA said the photos were taken by its lunar reconnaissance probe when it passed 90 kilometers above the surface.

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“The cameras recorded a dark spot, about 10 meters wide, which indicates the point of impact. The dark colors suggest that the surface has become rough after the moon landing, which is less reflective than a clean, smooth surface, ”NASA explained.

Left: Bereshit impact site. Right: An image reworked to highlight changes near the landing site before and after the landing, revealing a white halo from the impact. Other craters are visible in the image on the right, as a slight change in the light conditions can be noted in the before and after images. The scale bar represents 100 meters. North is up. The two panels are 490 meters wide. (NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University)

NASA said it was unclear whether the probe cratered the lunar surface, saying its angle of impact may be too deep. She noted, however, that “Bereshit’s speed was still higher than the speed of most bullets.”

The halo of light around the impact site may have been caused by “impact gas or fine soil particles thrown out during the descent of Bereshit.”

The US space agency said the site of the impact was almost certainly made by humans and not by one of the many meteorites that regularly bombard the moon’s surface. NASA referred to the many photos of the site taken before the crash and the fact that the images coincided with the mathematical models used to represent the crash site and the expected coordinates in the area called the Sea of ​​Serenity.

On the other hand, we do not have information on the fate of the digital library which was on board the machine.

The library contains a 30 million page archive of human history and civilization spanning all subjects, cultures, nations, languages ​​and genres. It is stored on a stack of 25 nickel discs of 100 grams, each 40 microns thick and created using nanotechnology.

In this photo taken on December 17, 2018, a digital time capsule featuring drawings of Israeli children, images of Israeli symbols like the flag, Israeli songs and a pamphlet written by a Jewish man about his experience of the Holocaust, which was to be being placed in the Bereshit probe, is on display during a presentation by the Israeli NGO SpaceIL and the state-owned Israeli Aerospace Industries in Yehud, east of Tel Aviv. (Jack Guez / AFP)

Astronaut Chris Hadfield has said he would like to look for it, calling the records a “30 million page Frisbee on the Moon – I hope to pick it up someday.”

Bereshit was a joint project of the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, funded almost entirely by private donations from famous Jewish philanthropists, including Morris Kahn, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lynn Schusterman, and others.

The 90 million euros (370 million shekels) spent on this first landing attempt was only a small part of the sums committed by other countries to land on the moon.