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Israel’s Beresheet Spacecraft Moon Landing Attempt Appears to End in Crash (nytimes.com)
396 points by figgis on Apr 11, 2019 | hide | past | web | favorite | 184 comments

I was just watching it live, cheering for SpaceIL, it's a pity that the landing was not successful.

I was part of the engineering team of the Japanese team Hakuto of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. I always wondered how it would feel to be in the control room at this time, but our launch deal fell through. I can understand what the SpaceIL engineers are going through right now.

Congratulations to all the SpaceIL team for reaching this far, your work has been impressive. Keep trying and you will make it!

Maybe not a success this time, but a lot will be learned. These types of failures are now we learn, adapt, and move forward.

True though Israel put its own satellites in space (the Amos program).

The cool thing about it was that was a pet project of a few scientists doing it just because it was cool rather than a proper national project

I doubt SpaceIL will be able to use anything they learned. IIUC they are out of money and can't move forward.

The prime minister of Isreal announced they'll try again in two years. So that judgment may be a little premature.

Regardless knowledge transfer isn't limited to either of those.

Is this a government venture or private? I read that it is private but then I see quotes about the PM like this.

Private but partially funded by the government; the PM was at the launch and had (before the crash) been trumpeting it as a success for the country as a whole

I understood incorrectly then. Nice to hear.

What he said was more along the lines of "I hope we'll try again in a couple of years", really non committing.


It doesn't make much difference any way. It's a private venture, his statement was just meant as cheer leading / consolation. I do hope they'll have another go, but it has very little to do with who's in government.

What appears to be the last image the spacecraft managed to send before it crashed:


So: first attempt to get to the moon (by them, who are not quite USA or China) and they just fail at the very end.

Like getting a silver medal at the Olympics. Yes, sad. But man!

With a population of < 3% of the USA, < 1% of China.

To be fair the hardest and most expensive part was handled by a US company. Many small countries have put satellites up using launchers from the larger players.

You do realize that Israel has put it's own satellites into space? And in a much more difficult way to avoid launching them over hostile countries.

Yeah, they use a dead simple solid-fuel rocket based on their ballistic missiles that can only really hit LEO and has a pretty limited payload.

implying that makes it unworthy of praise?

In the same way that 'getting to space' is not nearly as impressive as 'getting to orbit', there is another large step to 'getting to trans-lunar injection'.

It's perfectly reasonable to show the differences in two achievements, and doing so doesn't imply the derision of either.

In any case, I love that so many people around the world are able to participate in the exploration of our sky, and will celebrate every single step that makes it easier and cheaper, regardless of where the people making it happen happen to live.

Also a lot of countries have an advantage in space access over Israel: Israel prefers to launch on retrograde orbit flight paths so that any debris falls into the Mediterranean instead of on their neighbors to the east. I don't blame them for hitching a ride.

Very important if attempt involves standing on shoulders!

Right, and I'm sure they didn't get any tech or mission critical help from the US.

Don't get me wrong, good on them for doing this, but let's not pretend like this happened in a bubble away from anyone else.

To be fair, the United States didn’t exactly start with home grown talent either.

relevant xkcd https://xkcd.com/984/

If you read the article it says a SpaceX rocket brought them into space in the first place

Oh I didn't even think we needed to get into that part since it was stated. I'm saying their space program has directly benefited from the ongoing relationship with the US allowing them to develop as far as they have.

OP was pointing out how far they got despite being such a small nation, I'm just saying that's not an accurate statement whatsoever based on what actually happened.

Also a private, albeit subsidized, company.

Subsidy "here is some money to exist"

Contract "here is some money to meet these contractual requirements".

I think you're confusing SpaceX with United Launch Alliance (ULA), who's Annual Capability Payment of $1 billion per year was given to them literally so they can keep the lights on. A lot of congressmen were seeing red when ULA decided to not even bother with a bid for the most recent GPS launches (which SpaceX cleaned house with overall) where SpaceX required zero subsidy and managed to do it cheaper in every way.

SpaceX is not subsidized, unless you were referring to SpaceIL.

Private with the prime minister on the control room? Sounds about as private as Chinese corporations.

They also got a fair number of Russian engineers.

> I'm sure they didn't get any tech or mission critical help from the US

What's your point? NASA got a bunch of help from Nazi scientists.

My point, which I'll just keep remaking here, is that pointing out the "super tiny" population of Israel is disingenuous since the intent is to show Israeli exceptionalism. If I was claiming "NASA is the best, way better than Israel whom NASA helped" then your whataboutism would be a valid critique. But I'm not saying that.

Pointing out the population relative to the US/China is the "Tony Stark built this in a cave from spare parts" argument, but that's not really what happened here. It's more "Tony Stark built this from a schematic given to him by Reed Richards and using parts gifted from Hank Pym" (to stretch my Marvel analogy as far as possible). It's still impressive, but that statement doesn't provide clarification to the accomplishment's significance.

TL;dr- "Israel did a cool thing, and they had lots of international help doing it" is the accurate statement on what happened.

If someone puts a gun to your head and says "Do this thing or you and your family will be executed" it doesn't make you the same as them. Coming from Nazi Germany does not make them necessarily Nazis.

Well, Von Braun was most definitely a nazi and not driven by threats of bodily harm. He was just very into rockets, and worked with whoever let him develop them.

Those scientists only came to USA because the Jews inspired Hitler, so it's still thanks to Israelites..

Not to mention 0.1% of the budget!

0.1% the budget because they didn't have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to research and build the last 60 years of space technology - rolling progress forward one painful, costly mistake at a time - to do it. Hardly seems reasonable to use such a comparison or make such a point given the actual context.

> 0.1% the budget because they didn't have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to research and build the last 60 years of space technology

That sort of argument isn't very honest or reasonable. Would you believe it would make any sense to point out the centuries of R&D work and countless money spent on it prior to the creation of the US space program to insinuate that the US freeloaded its way into one of mankind's most important achievements?

The US and China could (and have) put a probe on the moon for far less than $100B. $100MM is still a great accomplishment, but let's not exaggerate it.

Aren't they also the world's largest foreign aid recipient?

according to this[0], iraq and afghanistan get more aid from the usa than israel does.


Iraq and Afghanistan have each 5 times the population of Israel, and only 33% more aid than Israel. Also, both Iraq and Afghanistan are desperately poor countries against which the US waged war, causing further destruction. What's the reason for Israel's aid?

> What's the reason for Israel's aid?

Because they are our only truly stable ally in that extremely chaotic, highly strategic region.

Hm. I see very well what the US does for Israel: 4.5 billion in military aid, constant international support (vetoed 44 UN security council resolutions against Israel), passed illegitimate laws in several states to punish those who support a boycott of Israel, recently recognized the illegal annexation of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, puts orthodox Jews in charge of drafting peace plans with the Palestinians, etc.

But what does Israel do for the US? It's not very clear to me. The only thing I know of is intelligence. Is that enough? I think even Saudi Arabia provides much more support: military bases, etc.

No, they are not.

The Michael Collins of lunar trips.

As they say, space is hard and SpaceIL is hardly the first to have lost a lander.


It came tantalizingly close to working, though, and I have high hopes for future attempts. Per aspera ad astra.

Thanks for teaching me a new Latin proverb. I like that very much.

It seems that they just got a new word in the dictionary: https://mobile.twitter.com/teamspaceil/status/11163129311033...

I find it a bit irritating to be that cocky when it comes to space technology. Better luck next time!

Contrast with Elon Musk saying the next launch of the Falcon Heavy (today) has a 5-10% chance of failure. [1] This is after it has already successfully launched once.

[1] https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1115998728878321672

Or Musk persistently pointing out how he expected the first Falcon Heavy launch to explode as the most likely outcome. The early intense trauma of SpaceX failures I think taught him valuable lessons in humility when it comes to space.

Instead we got two boosters returning and landing side by side.

Meanwhile he seems to lack any doubt or humility in anything involving Tesla...

There may be problems with the business itself but the cars are real, they work well, and people love them. They're even best selling in their category in some countries. The fact that Tesla is now a mainstream production car company is incredibly impressive.

He's been pretty upfront about his date prediction abilities:


I was more thinking about self driving

And yet he continues doing it.

The problem isn't that people are demanding accurate dates for launches and then getting mad he wasn't exactly correct, the problem is that he is underestimating launch times significantly and stating them publicly with confidence.

Humans have flaws. Elon is no different in that respect.

He could simply say he doesn't know.

But these are actual dates he gives his engineers. Unsurprisingly, engineering is very difficult. He's pushing them to reach the stars, and they've only managed to reach the moon so to speak. He's fanatical about pushing them to be their very best (depending on your POV).

Here I was thinking the new dictionary entry was going to be something like:

Beresheet: (v) To fail dramatically after overwhelming confidence

So hubris?

The overweening pride is hubris. The retribution for such is nemesis.

Hubris leads to Beresheet.

Beresheet means "genesis," and if we know anything about the genesis of the universe it's that there's a big explosion.

It means "In the beginning" (בראשית)

(The prefix "ב" meaning "in", the root "ראש" meaning "head" --used both for the part of the body, and to mean "starting" or "principal"--and the suffux "ית" being the a type of feminine suffix)

That said, it is the Hebrew name of the book of scripture commonly called "Genesis" in English, because it's the first word (incipit) of that book. So people who translate it as "genesis" are not totally making it up, and arguably it's a more poetic translation since the name of the book is (presumably) why they chose that name for the craft.

Pride cometh before the Beresheet

I Beresheet the bed.

I think the tempting fate bit comes from inviting the politicians into the control room

Netanyahu has a tendency to credit himself with any Israeli achievement as part of his personality cult he is encouraging. I bet he made it obvious that he is going to be in the control room.

Beresheet is Hebrew for "beginning".

I'm sure/I'd hope the actual engineers on the project wouldn't align to that tweet's wording by the marketing team (aka, they prob wouldn't be that cocky/have phrased it that way themselves).

Count your blessings.

They are the 4th country to reach the Moon (albeit at 1km/s).

No, they would have been the 4th country to land on the moon. Both ESA and ISRO have previously conducted (intentional) impact missions.

khuey with the correction. Yes they would have been the 4th country to land on the moon. They settled to be the 7th country to orbit.

US, USSR, and China have successfully landed on the moon.

Japan, ESA, India, and SpaceIL all have crashed on the moon (counting as reached).


That being said, ESA landed on a comet. Which is arguably a much harder shot to make ;) literally, you shoot, wait a decade, and cross your fingers during landing ^^

And even if they didn’t ever manage to land on the moon, ESA did once land on a moon.


You don't so much land on a comet, as dock with it. And I think they kinda less-than-succeeded at that.

They got down at the expected speed just fine. Except that speed is enough to bounce two times if your harpoons fire but don't stick in the crust because it is even more crunchy than expected.

As I said, a failed docking attempt.

A successful landing, followed by rapid unplanned disassembly.

Unscheduled lithobraking manoeuvre.

Pride comes before a fall. (scnr)

> Pride comes before a fall. (scnr)

Only if your pride is traveling at less than 11.2 km/s.

And/or lithobraking.

They successfully crashed it.

This comment thread is both celebratory and hateful, truly disgusting from Hn.

Celebrating space mission failures for any reason is a terrible look.

This is a cultural difference, try to take a step back from your own preconceived cultural norms. What's considered confidence in Israel would qualify as hubris in American culture - there's much less value placed on being humble or soft-spoken in Israeli culture. I make no judgements about if this is better/worse but I certainly wouldn't dream of relishing in their failure even if I perceived them as "cocky".

I don’t know if anyone is celebrating just because it was an Israeli mission but since I started following the mission there were few tweets similar to the one in question. On the first one I just rolled my eyes and on the second one I rooted for a failure just to to imagine how annoyed the PR person would be. I know it’s not a logical behavior but it’s not affecting the outcome, so... I guess if you’re going to be overly confident and “do” when everyone else is “attempting”, you better deliver.

Are you telling us that in Israel confidence is replaced by hubris- the kind of over-confidence that makes you forget about your limits, underestimate dangers, antagonize people around you, and ultimately cause your own downfall? Well, good luck then, they'll need it!

What's considered hateful in most cultures is considered light-hearted an fun in HN culture. Truly ignorant of you to criticize this. It's culture-shaming.


If anything I feel I have to watch my words on HN, compared to when I speak with people living around me or people at places I've lived before.

HN also feels extremely safe compared to certain other places I've visited online.

It's tongue-in-cheek. I think it's dumb that criticizing hubris in the manner seen in this comment thread is seen as hateful just because hubris is part of someone's culture.

Well, I'm Israeli, and hubris is not part of my personal culture, but it is prevalent in Israel. IMHO it's a real problem for Israel because people here tend to be euphoric and unaware of the consequences of our decisions. On the other hand, it does make us more daring and in today's world it is a great way to "succeed"

> in today's world it is a great way to "succeed"

Yes, until you piss off too many people around you with your excessive confidence- which includes a sense of superiority and the feeling of being immune from the consequences of evil or hostile actions.

And if you made everybody around you an enemy rather than a friend, sooner or later you'll pay the consequences.

It's time to retire the tired old nation-state space-race narrative. We're all in this together people. Their failure is our failure.

I'll play the contrarian and suggest that a space race is the best kind of national pride. If you're okay with football (soccer) or Olympics pride, this is, in my mind, better still.

And ironaically, as you suggest, when one country wins, we in fact all win.

I would much rather we fight to push back the boundaries of space than to hurl actual bombs at each other.

Nothing could be further from the truth. These folks are fierce with nationalistic and sectarian pride in their vehicle.


It took me a while to understand what's going on in these comments before I was reminded of the 30 Rock episode where a Canadian character has trouble understanding sarcasm because there aren't many Jews there.

But still, did you all miss the winking emoji right there following the text?


My point really wasn't that these folks got what's coming to them for their arrogance. My point is that this isn't a mission of international we're-all-in-this-together cooperation. It is very much viewed by the Israeli's running the mission as a part of the nation-state space race.

It's true. As an Israeli it's a very secreterian narrative was built around this endeavor. We have in Israel a very deep rooted siege mentality, which considering our history is not surprising. Our current powers at be foster this feeling of pride and fear because it is a great way to keep political power. It is rather sad that every Israeli endeavour is tainted by these sentiments. I am trying to ignore it but I kind of hoped for failure, I thought I couldn't handle the nationalistic euphoria orgy we would have in the media if we did land.

This! While my sentiment may feel a bit Star Trekky/naive, our quest to get to the stars will only succeed if we, as a planet, pull together. If we dont, we'll be limited to this solar system. China, US, India, Israel, Russia (sorry for anyone else Im missing :-)), are all pioneers and we should celebrate their successes, and continued desire to push the envelope.

The issue every single country you listed is that space tech and ICBM tech are virtually the same. Those countries are good at it because they make excellent missiles for war. It is a sad reality. NASA and the DoD work hand in hand together, and virtually always have.

I completely agree. War drives innovation, its a very sad reality. Though in order to get further than our solar system, we'll either need to destroy ourselves, or combine our resources. Some are already trying, and its great. Others have a way to go before realizing this. Very altruistic, I know. Though I think some altruism is needed!

It’s time to retire the ignorant notion that nation-state space programs can be morally disentangled from the governments pursuing them in no small part for political ends. Their success is the regime’s success.

We don't cheer for countries practicing Apartheid.

Indeed, and the Israeli project was a new experiment in low cost, volunteer rich space exploration. Its outcome and repetition _is_ significant to everyone. Indeed, nationalistic associations distract from rather than enhance a project.

And we have a few examples of internationalism already like the ISS. And presumably any Mars mission will have to be international. Which is another one of the reasons such projects is worth while.

Agree to disagree here. The whole "we're all one people thing" is a great idea and all (I'm a huge fan, would love for the U.N. to be something other than the personification of national relations and instead be a real governing body) but that's not how things work.

This is Israel's project. They had assistance from other organizations/countries, but they're not doing this to better North Korea in any real way and you shouldn't hold North Korean responsible for their failure.

Disagree to agree here. It should really be how things can work. We have the opportunity and possibly the unity to get together on a vision for mankind for the first time in history. Obviously there are challenges, but if all people got to vote in their respective democraties for a global push to space - I would be surprised to not see it approved.

Should is a dangerous word. Just because you or I think something should happen doesn't mean it is in any way realistic. It seems we're a competitive species, and we rarely do anything really hard if it doesn't offer a chance to be the first or best at something, or to better someone else.

That doesn't mean it's impossible, just that we need something to change the market, not fairy tales about international cooperation. Elon Musk's project to massively decrease the cost of space access is a step in the right direction. I don't think we'd ever get to widespread space activity if we depend on massive spending by national governments to do it.

> but if all people got to vote in their respective democraties for a global push to space

Isn't that anathema to the current isolationist, nationalist bent a lot of the worlds biggest and baddest powers people seem to be adopting?

Who cares? Doesn’t mean it’s not something we should hope for.

> Obviously there are challenges, but if all people got to vote in their respective democraties for a global push to space - I would be surprised to not see it approved.

My point is that I would be very much surprised to see it approved, as it appears to be the people themselves who have become against these sorts of global pushes.

Yes, it should be the goal, I was raised on Star Trek, I'm just saying that doesn't seem likely.

> On the way down, the main engine cut out. The engine was successfully restarted, but then communications were cut off, and no more information was sent back.

Definitely a terrible time to have an engine failure :/

Based on the telemetry from the broadcast it seems that there was a failure at 13km that resulted in both telemetry and engine loss. When telemetry connection came back vertical speed has already doubled and it kept going up until spacecraft hit the ground. Engine was probably never restarted.

Edit1: Telemetry came back at 10k. For the next minute and a half there was uncertainty about the main engine even though telemetry clearly showed vertical speed going up fast. More then a minute later, at 5k a reset request was made.

Edit2: A minute goes by and at about 500m controller asked if there is a confirmation to send rest to JPL, another, announced that engine is on. Crash happens at that moment. 149m, 134.3ms vertical.

>900m/s horizontal.

Was the request to restart the engine made from Earth?

It seems like the landing program would want to have a feature in place that automatically restarted the engine in a situation like this.

From the NY Times story “We are resetting the spacecraft to try to enable the engine.”

I can't tell from that if normally an engine outage would automatically restart but didn't or if the condition would always require manual intervention. I hope we get more details soon. The moon seems close enough (a few seconds), but accidents always happen closest to your destination. More automation is more complexity but it will be valuable for longer trips.

When they said the engine had a problem the altitude was 678m and vertical velocity was 130.1m/s. After restart it was 149m at 134.3m/s. They never had a chance. Assuming those numbers were correct. A few minutes before they had lost the intertial measurement unit.

then communications were cut off, and no more information was sent back.

Have any of these moon landings been done at night where people have been able to watch it happening through a telescope? Or are things so small at the moon's distance that there'd be nothing to see?

It might be a stretch to call it a landing, but the LCROSS mission maneuvered a Centaur upper stage to a controlled crash on the moon. IIRC it was done at night so that telescopes on Earth could see it, but none actually did.

Actual landers tend to try to land during lunar day, to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and to have sunlight to recharge batteries.

The resolution a 10 meter telescope on Earth can make out of the moon is about 22 meters per pixel. We can yet make out the moon landing site with earth based telescope.

Making a 23 metre mark on the moon seems like a natural project for some country, then. Perhaps easier than orchestrating a soft landing.

There are lunar retroreflectors about a metre across [0] that are detectable with optical equipment, for some definition of optical. But to leave a mark that can be seen from earth - to leave your tag, or an X, or a crude drawing of a penis and testes - surely that's an urge as old as art itself.


Just watched the ted talk from the woman who came up with the algorithm to photograph the black hole and she had a slide of the best picture we can get of the moon from earth and she said each pixel on that picture could fit something like 600,000 oranges. don't think it's possible that we can see a spacecraft landing on the moon with what we have.

When is it not a terrible time to have an engine failure?

When you're floating along on a stable orbit not about to impact the surface.

Or with more time to recover from the outage before landing. If it happens within the last minute (wild estimation) then you have little time to recover the lost velocity.

But you're still having an engine failure when the engine is far away from anyone that could potentially start mending it.

Not an engine failure, but: "Debugging a program running on a $100M piece of hardware that is 100 million miles away is an interesting experience." http://www.flownet.com/gat/jpl-lisp.html

"failure" does not necessarily imply it is permanently disabled. It just means the engine stopped working as expected at some point.

Obviously they restarted it after this failure so it was not a complete breakdown of the engine.

When you are floating along on a stable orbit the engines are off, so it's quite hard to have a failure in this context.

Maybe the failure occurs as you are initiating acceleration burn, while you are in stable orbit.

They could fail to ignite if you were attempting a burn from a stable orbit into another orbit.

When you have redundant engines??

I was on a plane that had one engine fail. It was fine.

While parked on the surface.

Gotta be a terrible "oh man we're back up---- nope" moment :(

It was. Some people in the audience were clapping when the announcement came that the engine was back on, but quite a few other people were shaking their heads and shushing them.

There was mention there about IMU issues - losing track of where you're pointing, then trying to recover could mean you're pointing the wrong way (while still running the main engine ....)

Surprised by the sheer number of naysayers on the thread. What is wrong with you people?

7th country to get that far in space, 4th to attempt to land, those are enormous achievements for a country that's has 2/3rds the population of New York (city, not state) and doesn't have a hundred billion dollars to burn in a dick-measuring contest. They'll launch another one and land next time.

If Israel knows anything, it's how to persevere.

Article subtitle: "The failure of the landing highlighted the risks of a fast and cheap approach to space exploration."

I would say the opposite. Not specifically just in reference to this mission but in general. They now have a lot of experience and data to use going forward for "not much" expense. A lot of extremely expensive missions were lost because they didn't have the opportunity to iterate.

The history of rocketry really took off during WW-II, and was further refined by the military (generic, but pretty much the nations that have successfully landed on the moon), further developing and releasing to civilian government, and eventually private interests.

If I were to make a guess extrapolation to air-flight we're probably still roughly in the 1940s. Private space flight is making things more standard and long-run production instead of one-offs; but we aren't there yet and haven't found workhorse designs that are both reliable and cheap. Experiments like this will hopefully help us get there.

30s, but OK.

Aircraft production was fully industrial going into the 40s.

the US had a tremendous number of rockets lost early on in the space program. Each was a learning opportunity.

hats off to SpaceIL! I look forward to following their next go at it.

yeah that's kind of a ridiculous statement. Big and expensive approaches to space exploration fail just the same.

If at first, you fail, try and try again. This was sobering. I watched expecting the normal rush I get when watching live events of this nature but it was not to be.

Still a great achievement! An inspiration for all kids looking to do science.

Discussion prior to the outcome: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19634570.

That's got to be tough: successfully going ~300000km from Earth and then see it fail in the last couple hundred meters. With nothing you can do.

Landings and take offs are always the hardest part of any aerospace event. You're much more likely to see system or mechanical failures when you first start everything up or try to stop moving on an uneven surface.

Why do we give aid to space fairing nations? Couldn't the aid be better spent on our own space program?

It seems Israel is doing just fine economically and technologically. So I don't get why US politicians still justify giving out O($billion) every year in foreign aid while there are ample opportunities to spend them in their own country.

Cause all the aid is conditioned on them using it to buy US military hardware. It's roundabout military spending.

> Cause all the aid is conditioned on them using it to buy US military hardware

Not true, only 3/4 of it. And it's not an explanation, otherwise they could give the same aid to any other country, but they don't.

"Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II."


Because if you just gave billions of dollars to Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon people would complain. So you give it to someone and make them buy from these guys.

you give aid to political allies that share a common view of what democracy is about, and face high military threats.

Budget for this lunar mission is probably extremely small compared to military spendings.

> share a common view of what democracy is about

So the US view of democracy is apartheid? Interesting.

I am not sure what connection that Buzz Aldrin had to the folks at SpaceIL but thought he had a pretty classy tweet tonight. Guess everyone in the space community pulls for each other.


Well they got very close. I really can't get enough of images from space. The gallery linked from the article was pretty good.


I haven't been able to find what it would have done had it landed correctly. (edit) I guess it had a few scientific instruments and a "time-capsule" of sorts. Wikipedia editors are fast, they already have the crash on there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceIL --------------- Payload

The spacecraft carried a "time capsule" created by the Arch Mission Foundation, containing over 30 million pages of analog and digital data, including a full copy of the English-language Wikipedia, the Wearable Rosetta disc, the PanLex database, a Nano Bible (complete Bible in Hebrew), children's drawings, a children's book inspired by the space launch, memoirs of a Holocaust survivor, Israel's national anthem (Hatikvah), the Israeli flag, and a copy of the Israeli Declaration of Independence.[8][35][36][37][38]

Its scientific payload included a magnetometer supplied by the Israeli Weizmann Institute of Science to measure the local magnetic field, and a laser retroreflector array supplied by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to enable precise measurements of the Earth–Moon distance.[39][40] ---------------------

As an aside, the youtube video series on the original Apollo launch computer it pretty neat. (The core memory on those old machines was nuts..)


Great name ! In Hebrew, it means " In the beginning..."

The saddest thing is that the moon men are still bereft of queso: https://www.kvue.com/article/news/weird/austin-queso-launche...

A hard landing is still a landing. This is rocket science, not general aviation.

I don't understand how you even attempt to recover from failures that occur during a descent like this. Latency to the moon appears to be 1.3 seconds. How much time do you have to do anything?

Multiple 'if' statements and then backup modules loaded with more 'ifs'

Why did they not have live video of the landing attempt? Should be double shouldn't it? What was used in the 60s to broadcast the landing?

This was an extremely low budget mission. Live video is of course doable, but probably not with the budget.

So is this the first moon wreckage?

Far from it. Both the USA and USSR have crashed multiple landers before successfully touching one down. And that doesn't even count intentional "impactor" missions that came before that.

...and a billion years of meteorite rubble

After seeing how people drive in Tel Aviv, I'm not surprised.


This project wasn't started by the state or by any university. This was a, mostly, volunteer project that wanted to excite children about STEM and space and to educate the young generation. The Prime Minister was invited because it was cool, but it was a private endeavour.

RIMR on Apr 11, 2019 [flagged]

Not sure I would call Netanyahu "cool".

He isn't. The spacecraft was.

Think you missed the point there Matto.

Space is not a race, its a jungle gym. Get on it.

I just wonder if the encyclopedia survived. It seems possible.

Too bad. "You just destroyed a 100 megabuck lander." Alternatively, 85% of a Juicero.

So now you want to convince me that in 1969 they could man land on the moon and then come back to earth and in 2019 they still trying to nail down the tech ?

How much did NASA spend in the 60s?

What technologies did they have in the 60s? I computer used to cost thousands of dollars and its the size of your room in the 60s also.

We have both landed and crashed on Mars and the Moon recently. We're not just trying to figure this out, we're trying to figure it out AND do it cheaply.

Do I detect a bit of condescension in NYT's tone? Do we need to remind the numerous failures US & USSR had before they got their space program off the ground? Also, they forgot India who did send a lunar orbiter and sent a probe on Moon's surface back in 2008.

I didn't notice any condescension in the article. I thought it was fairly positive towards the mission. Also, India was mentioned in the article.

Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe was an impactor, not a lander.

Both were, in the end.

But this one was going slower.

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