Israel’s attempt at a moon landing failed at the last minute Thursday when the craft suffered an engine failure as it prepared to land and apparently crashed onto the lunar surface.
The Israeli spacecraft – called Beresheet – attempted a soft landing, but suffered technical problems on its descent to the Moon’s surface.
The aim of the mission was to take pictures and conduct experiments as Israel hoped to become only the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the Moon.
So far,only government space agencies from the former Soviet Union, the US and China have made successful Moon landings.
“We didn’t make it, but we definitely tried,” project originator and major backer Morris Kahn said in a live videocast from mission control near Tel Aviv.
“The spacecraft Beresheet did not successfully complete its landing on the moon,” an onscreen message said.
Dr Kimberly Cartier, an astronomer and science news reporter, tweeted that she was “sad about how #Beresheet ended” but “proud of the entire @TeamSpaceIL”.
Dr. Kimberly Cartier@AstroKimCartier
I’m sad about how #Beresheet ended, but am so proud of the entire @TeamSpaceIL for an incredible journey, an amazing outreach effort, and a historic spacecraft.
As many others have said, space is hard, and there’s always next time.
Beresheet, which is Hebrew for “in the beginning”, was a joint project between SpaceIL, a privately funded Israeli non-profit organisation, and Israel Aerospace Industries.