Earlier today, Israel's intrepid Beresheet spacecraft attempted to touch down on the surface of the moon. While the endeavor was regrettably not a successful one, the mission broke substantial ground in its goal to land the world's first private spacecraft on lunar terrain.
Named after the Hebrew word for Genesis, the Beresheet aimed to become the first-ever privately developed craft to plant its landing legs on lunar soil. The unmanned vehicle was supposed to make a soft landing on the near side of the moon – the side that always faces Earth – at 3:25 p.m. ET. However, "a failure in the spacecraft" prevented the mission from reaching its goal, leaving Israel unable to safely land the craft on the moon's surface, The Jerusalem Post is reporting.
"The State of Israel fell just short of becoming only the fourth member of a prestigious club of nations to complete the formidable task of landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface," after the former Soviet Union, the United States, and China, notes the media outlet.
After what looked like a flawless first phase of deceleration ahead of approaching the moon, the mission's team lost contact with the probe minutes before what would have been a historic landing. Following a series of technical problems, the craft eventually went silent, ceasing all communication with mission control in Yehud, Israel, and is presumed to have crash-landed on the lunar surface.
"If at first you don't succeed, you try and try again – and we'll try again," said the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who watched the landing attempt from mission control.
"We reached the moon, but we wanted to land more safely. The attempt alone is a huge achievement. An Israeli satellite will one day land on the moon."