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Tech & Science NASA spacecraft spots doomed lunar lander’s crash site on Moon’s surface

08:36  16 may  2019
08:36  16 may  2019 Source:   theverge.com

NASA just spotted the crash site of Israel’s Beresheet lander

NASA just spotted the crash site of Israel’s Beresheet lander April was supposed to be an exciting time for Israel's privately-funded space group SpaceIL. 

A NASA spacecraft in orbit around the Moon spotted the crash site of an Israeli robotic lander named Beresheet, which slammed into the lunar surface New pictures from the spacecraft show that the lander left a dark, 10-meter-long smudge across the Moon where it hit and then disintegrated.

NASA ' s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the crash site of SpaceIL' s Beresheet spacecraft , which failed during a moon landing April 11, 2019. The dark tone suggests a surface roughened by the hard landing, which is less reflective than a clean, smooth surface ," NASA officials said.

Video provided by FOX News

A NASA spacecraft in orbit around the Moon spotted the crash site of an Israeli robotic lander named Beresheet, which slammed into the lunar surface during a botched landing attempt in April. New pictures from the spacecraft show that the lander left a dark, 10-meter-long smudge across the Moon where it hit and then disintegrated.

The ill-fated lander was the creation of an Israeli nonprofit called SpaceIL, which launched Beresheet on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in February. Before the crash, the lander was poised to make history by becoming the first spacecraft made with mostly private funding to touch down on the surface of the Moon.

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NASA ' s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has found the lander ' s final resting place. "From so far away, LROC could not detect whether Beresheet formed a surface crater upon impact. SpaceIL achieved the first moon orbit by a privately funded spacecraft , but it intends to stick the landing next

NASA ’ s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) snapped multiple pictures of the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft ’ s impact site on the Moon ’ s surface . The Beresheet lander was launched on February 22 and nearly struck its Moon landing, though it ultimately experienced a technical error that caused it

NASA spacecraft spots doomed lunar lander’s crash site on Moon’s surface © Image: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University Beresheet’s crash site, as seen from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. But during its landing attempt, someone or something inputted a command into the lander’s computer, starting a chain reaction that ended with the spacecraft’s main engine shutting down too early. As a result, the lander couldn’t slow down enough during its descent to the surface. The vehicle came in way too fast and broke apart on impact. Just before it crashed, it sent back one final image of the lunar surface.

About 11 days after the failure, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter passed overhead of the crash site and was able to provide some nice before-and-after pictures of the scene. Apparently, Beresheet did not form a crater on the Moon’s surface, or if it did, it’s too small for NASA’s spacecraft to detect. It’s possible that the lander wasn’t moving fast enough when it hit the surface or it came in at too low an angle to form a substantial crater.

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NASA said the moon is shrinking like a raisin, and experiencing 'moonquakes' that are cracking its brittle surface The moon's interior is cooling down, which has made it get about 150 feet "skinnier" over the last several hundred million years, NASA said on Monday. The agency said this was causing the moon to develop "wrinkles," and likened the moon's shrinkage to a grape shriveling into a raisin. Scientists also say this is causing the moon's surface to break, and producing "moonquakes." The agency also announced $US1.6 billion in extra funding to send the next man and first woman to the moon by 2024. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

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NASA ' s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera spotted the curious impact using its narrow-angle camera, which has such a high resolution that it "According to the 2007 International Atlas of Lunar Exploration, the Lunar Orbiter 2 spacecraft was commanded to crash into the lunar far side surface

NASA spacecraft spots doomed lunar lander’s crash site on Moon’s surface © Image: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University Before and after Beresheet’s crash

Also surrounding the crash site is an area of dust that’s slightly more reflective than the rest of the lunar surface. Scientists analyzing the spacecraft images think this may have been caused by gases or other particles zooming away from the accident. This may have smoothed out the area and made things more reflective, according to researchers at NASA and Arizona State University.

While Beresheet’s demise was a big loss for SpaceIL engineers, the crash does provide a great opportunity to better understand how things crashing into the lunar surface affect the Moon’s environment. By keeping an eye on this site, scientists can watch as the rocks and dust in this area evolve over time following an impact. So there’s at least one upside to Beresheet failure to stick its landing.

Pictures: Photos: SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral with lunar lander (USA Today)

Moonquakes measured during Apollo missions suggest the Moon may still be tectonically active, study finds.
Rumblings under the lunar surface captured by Apollo-era equipment might be signs that the Moon is still tectonically active, researchers say. The Moon was previously thought to be fairly geologically quiet, but a study published today in Nature Geoscience found moonquakes in the 1960s and 70s occurred near fault scarps, or small cliffs created by movement between fractured parts of the Moon's surface. This is more than a coincidence — the quakes were likely caused by slipping at these fracture points, said the study's lead author Tom Watters of the Smithsonian Institution.

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