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Beresheet landing fails

Beresheet's last image

An engine problem during landing has caused Beresheet to crash onto the lunar surface.

The image on the right was the last image beamed back by the spacecraft during the landing sequence. It looks down at the lunar surface from several thousand meters.

As Netanyahu immediately noted, “If at first you don’t succeed, you try again.”

This failure definitely slows down the effort to transition from government-controlled space exploration to a free effort by the independent citizenry of all nations. It does not stop it however. There are other private lunar missions already scheduled, and of course, there is the effort by SpaceX to build its own heavy-lift rocket to make interplanetary space travel affordable for all.

The next decade will see this effort blossom. Beresheet’s failure is an example of those first baby steps, when the ability to stand is uncertain, and sometimes results in a fall. But babies turn into adults. The future is bright indeed.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Ian C.

    Sad because it’s always a bummer to experience failure after years of hard, dedicated work. Good news though because it shows that private initiatives can get that far with such a small budget and the right mindset. Effectively the door to the Moon is open now and the world knows it.

  • mivenho

    I wish Israel the best of luck on their next try.

  • RLC5

    So close…!
    If first you dont succeed…

  • Bill Peschel

    Time to watch “The Right Stuff” again to remind us that the U.S. had more than a few failures along the way.

    Getting this far for Israel is still a major accomplishment.

  • Special Ed

    Remember everyone. This isn’t Israel’s launch. This is SpaceIL’s. It is an Israeli company, but it’s no more Israel than SpaceX is USA.

  • Special Ed Quote: “Remember everyone. This isn’t Israel’s launch. This is SpaceIL’s. It is an Israeli company, but it’s no more Israel than SpaceX is USA.”

    The “IL” in “SpaceIL” refers to Israel, so this is Israel’s launch and the Israeli people are correct when the take it that way. A country is not just its government. It is its people, who helped fund this mission, and yes, it is the nation’s companies too. I find it absurd and derogatory to claim that a country is merely its government, that what its people do isn’t what the nation does.

  • Rob

    This is what good science and aggressive experiments are all about.
    Try again;
    and good luck

  • Andi

    “Missed it by that much” — Maxwell Smart

    Hope their next try is successful!

  • Edward

    Hopefully there was enough telemetry for them to figure out the root cause. I’m sure that there were several other lessons to learn, such as the star tracker problem. Next time will go better, and I’m glad that they are talking about a next time.

    Meanwhile, we know that they have space navigation capability. A lot worked well, but not quite enough.

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