NASA released Israel's Beresheet Lunar Lander, developed by Israeli non-profit SpaceIL.
The photo was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Room (LROC) 11 days after the spacecraft crashed into the moon's surface on April 11, dashing Israel's hopes of becoming the fourth country in the world (after Russia, China, and the US) to complete a controlled moon landing.
The LROC took this image from 56 miles (90 kilometers) above the surface, capturing a dark smudge, about 10 meters wide, that indicates the point of impact, NASA said. "The dark tone suggests a surface roughened by the hard landing, which is less reflective than a clean surface," it added.
“The light halo around the smudge could have formed from gas associated with the impact of fine soil outward during Beresheet's descent, smoothing the soil around the landing site, making it highly reflective,” NASA said.
"Before" images of the area taken over a decade, and three "after" images. The space organization also referenced previously created by similar-size spacecraft – GRAIL in 2012, LADEE in 2014 – that have struck the moon at about the same speed.
"We saw that the white tail stretching from the landing halo towards the south is a consistent shape with Beresheet's southward descent trajectory and angle of approach," it said.
The LROC is expected to take pictures of the landing site when it passes the same area again on May 19.
SpaceIL was privately funded by philanthropists, including its president, Israel-South African entrepreneur Morris Khan, but received government funding including $ 2 million from the Ministry of Science and Technology. The whole project cost an estimated $ 100 million.
Some 48 hours after the crash, SpaceIL said that it would be a new spacecraft dubbed Beresheet 2 and launching a fresh mission to the moon.
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