NASA experiment may have survived Israeli spacecraft’s crash landing on moon

A ball-shaped device, smaller than a computer mouse, was located on the top side of the Israeli lander.

By World Israel News Staff

A NASA piggyback experiment may have survived the April 11 crash landing of Israel’s Moon lander, Genesis, writes Leonard David in his Outer Space blog.

An overflight of the crash site by the U.S. space agency’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) should provide imagery of the impact area, says David.

“A ball-shaped device was located on the top side of the Israeli lander. Smaller than a computer mouse, it is composed of eight mirrors made of quartz cube corners that are set into a dome-shaped aluminum frame. That array is lightweight, radiation-hardened, and long-lived,” he writes.

“Yes, we believe the laser reflector array would have survived the crash although it may have separated from the main spacecraft body,” David Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an emeritus researcher at NASA, told the blog site.

NASA issued a statement after the crash landing, stating that while it “regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet [Genesis] lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries, and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit. Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress.”

“NASA is interested in dotting the Moon with many such retro-reflectors in the future,” says the blogger.”These would serve as permanent ‘fiducial markers’ on the moon, meaning future craft could use them as points of reference to make precision landings,” he explains.

SpaceIL has announced that it will try a second time to land a spacecraft on the moon with a new spacecraft that has already been named Genesis 2.