On April 11, Israel was one step away from becoming the fourth country to reach Luna. However, minutes before touching the surface, his probe failed and fell. Because? The company just revealed what happened.
Illustration of the ship of Israel that fell against the moon.
The Beresheet probe, launched in February 2019, was created by Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE contest and continued despite being declared void. The ship is the smallest Lander in history, with 6 colorful 8-megapixel cameras, a magnetometer, a digital time capsule and laser corner reflectors. (Read The Sophisticated Robot That Saved Lives In The Fire Of Notre Dame)
Then on April 11, the device was preparing to land in the northeast part of the Sea Clarity, when a fault caused the fall. At a height of 14 kilometers from the surface of the moon, there was a malfunction of the IMU (inertial measurement unit) measuring sensor, which caused the main motor to stop. When it was finally turned on, the distance to the surface was estimated at 149 meters, and the speed of the probe was 500 k / h, which caused the probe to reach the surface of the moon. (Lea surprised a caravan of trucks trying to enter the Sierra de la Macarena Park)
However, IMU's failure alone would not have led to the collapse of the probe, since it has duplicate measurement systems, and the Beresheet could make a landing on the moon.
Therefore, to eliminate the problem with the sensor, the mission dispatchers sent a system reset command to the probe, and it was now found that this command caused an unexpected "chain reaction" due to failures and as a result caused that the engine stopped.
In the coming weeks, Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter, operating in orbit near the moon, will examine the shock zone to detect probe debris, including a survival time capsule and a NASA laser-supplied retroreflector.
Although the probe fell on the moon, it became the first private spacecraft to fly around the moon and enter the lunar orbit. For this reason, the XPRIZE Foundation awarded SpaceIL with a million-dollar Moonshot award. And recently the company announced the start of the creation of a new lunar probe called "Beresheet 2".
*This article has been published. originally in N + 1, science that adds.